Is There a Need for LEAN in the Public Sector?

It’s no secret that LEAN has demonstrated great success in the private sector for many years. Within the last decade, LEAN has also proven to be effective in healthcare, education, finance, and now government. Given the March, 2014Eighth Report to the Prime Minister: Contributing to a Competitive Canada by the Prime Minister’s Advisory Committee on the Public Service, and its focus on efficiency and rethinking how work is done, we expect to see increasing interest in adopting LEAN practices in the federal government. LEAN offers a viable means to streamline business processes and empower employees, thereby supporting our government’s continued, concerted efforts to provide better client service while adhering to tight budgets and refraining from increasing staff.

Following are some typical questions we often receive about LEAN:

  1. What is LEAN? LEAN is not a tool. LEAN is a unique way of thinking about how to assess and improve processes with a primary purpose of increasing value to clients.  When implemented properly, LEAN thinking will work for any process or organization that is looking to ‘do more with what they have’, in addition to adding value by improving quality, service and speed of delivery.
  2. How is LEAN a solution? LEAN is an all-encompassing, strategic and tactical solution that engages staff to create an environment of client-focused energy to continuously provide value.  It breaks down the barriers between departments and develops a cohesive organization that moves in a common direction, constantly providing more value without increasing client costs.  LEAN enables public sector agencies to work more effectively and efficiently as a team by eliminating waste in their processes.
  3. What impact will LEAN have if done properly? Numerous public sector organisations are using LEAN methods to dramatically improve the quality, service, and speed of their processes. The results have been impressive.

Here are some typical results that have been attained by various government groups:

  • 25 – 100% increase in capacity without adding resources or working harder;
  • 25 – 50% improvement in quality and customer satisfaction;
  • 25 – 100% improvement in financial performance;
  • Increased employee engagement and reduced firefighting and stress – staff are focused on devoting more time and resources to their core business and competencies.

The LEAN culture works to change the sorts of attitudes that create wasteful, ‘silo’ behaviours and interdepartmental friction. As a result, workloads become more balanced, fluctuations in pressures are reduced, and employees become more engaged as they participate in the improvements. Our government is continually being asked to do more with less.  Intersol combines its knowledge and expertise in Change Management with LEAN to provide a powerful solution to the challenge.