Saturday, 22 September 2012

What a State

In 2007, the state of Iowa in the USA hired Mike Rohlf, a black belt in Six Sigma, to apply 'Lean' to the various processes and procedures of state government.

Mike is still there ... appropriately as a 'one man band' (very lean). For each project, Mike works with volunteers from different areas within the agency in question, as well as 'correctives' - non-biased independents from an unrelated department.

They map what goes on ... and set about trying to improve on it. The state has carried out 180 such projects and is convinced of its success ... though this is difficult to measure because of the 'softer', qualitative improvements (like better service) that come alongside any cost savings.

One example - last year’s overhaul of the vocational rehabilitation office that assists with Social Security reimbursements is on pace to net about 20 percent more federal reimbursement money, or roughly $100,000 annually.

As ever, changes are often very simple ... in this case, moving from a paper to an electronic claims process.

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