What makes it so difficult to implement a lean system in a Government department?
Whether you call it Lean, Six Sigma, Continuous Improvement, Business Excellence or Best Value we really are talking about the same outcome. A robust system focussing on delivering consistent value driven outcomes to the customer – in the case of a Government department the customer is the community at large in some cases and individual community members in other instances.
Just about every tool used in any other manufacturing or service organisation will work just as well in a Government department, I have found the biggest factor to address is the long standing mindset of being a Government employee. Unfortunately, many employees (across all levels of the organisations) have lost sight of why they are there. They have lost sight of the customers and the need to deliver value.
What can we do about it? Well we need to address two problems.
1) Who is the customer? Develop a customer profile with the team you are working with. Who is the customer? What do they want from your service? Go further and ask customers what they like and don’t like about the service.
2) How much does the service cost and what would a similar service cost from the private sector? Now, there are some Government departments whose service cannot be benchmarked against private sector, however all departments can and should be measured.
With these questions answered, you can now develop how your service should look (future state), perform a gap analysis, create an action plan and finally implement the changes.
There are two outcomes you need to achieve through this process.
1) A culture shift in the employees
2) Provide a better value and quality service to the customers