LEAN Online

Minnesota Department of Revenue receives Better Government for a Better Minnesota Team Award

On November 17, 2011, Governor Mark Dayton recognized the Department of Revenue’s Electronic Checking Processing Team for their role in building a culture of continuous improvement in state government.

The team, consisting of Roxanne Smetana, Kathy Bradshaw, Nancy Rose, Lisa Wilson, Mark Kleppe, John Wottrich, Sandy Long, Sue Bombardo, Jean Jochim, Julie Boje, Kandy Hedlund, Kristen Schroeder, Brian Thesing, Virginia Adler, Jim Biggs, Kurt Rud, and Cynthia Rowley, found methods to improve current work processes and improve technology use.

The new processes developed by the team will save over $117,000 annually and avoid a one-time cost of more than $1 million. This has allowed the department to hold rates charged to other state agencies at the same level as six years ago. Cost savings were diverted to other technology projects that enhance services to taxpayers.

Congratulations to the Department of Revenue’s Electronic Check Processing Team, as well as other Better Government for a Better Minnesota Award winners, who will be featured in future issues.

Sidebar: Mark Phillips, Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner, welcomes attendees to the department’s Continuous Improvement Recognition Event on December 20, 2011.

Workshop Scheduling Process Kaizen Event, Minnesota Department of Education

The Department of Education held its first ever Kaizen event from December 12-15, 2011. The goals of the event were to reduce errors, defects, inefficiencies and redundancies in the workshop scheduling process.

The current process, the Kaizen team observed, was inconsistent, involved unnecessary staff activities and communication, and had unpredictable wait times. The team’s recommendations for the future process included standardizing training events processes, simplifying approvals, and making written policies for staff and training materials for customers more easily accessible.

The Kaizen team developed a new process that will reduce average task times for various types of training (free, cost, local, outstate) by about half. In addition, the new process save an estimated 1500 staff hours annually and copy costs of $20,000 annually.

Team members appreciated the opportunity to learn from and with staff outside of their daily work units. With support from department leadership and other staff, the team plans to launch the new process by January 9, 2012.

The Department of Education serves about 850,000 K-12 students and their families, 118,000 children in early learning programs, 82,000 adult learners, 339 school districts, and 52,000 licensed teachers.

LEAN Training and Event Dates

See LEAN Online, www.lean.state.mn.us, for current training and events:

Jan. 11,  Crow Wing County Lean 101
Jan. 17,  Lean 101 Training, Registration closed
Jan. 18-19,  Kaizen Facilitator Training, Registration closed
Jan. 27,  Association of MN Counties Lean Overview
Feb. 22-23,  Dept. of Education Kaizen Facilitator Training
Feb. 28,  Lean 101 Training, Registration Open
Feb. 29-Mar. 1,  Kaizen Facilitator Training, Registration Open

Register for trainings at www.lean.state.mn.us/LEAN_pages/calendar.html

Are you Lean?

More than 4,000 people have participated in Lean activities — how about you? Visit the Lean website, www.lean.state.mn.us, for opportunities to get involved in Lean efforts at your agency!