Category Archives: Public Sector

Federal Government Chief Performance Officer

A Quality Manager for Obama

President-Elect Obama has hired a quality manager, and her name is Nancy Killefer. She is the newly appointed “Chief Performance Officer” whose mandate is to manage budget reforms while eliminating waste in government processes, ultimately making it more effective. An MIT & McKinsey alum, Time calls her the “first official waste watchdog.”

Previous administrations have had exactly the same thing (regardless what Time magazine says), so I don’t think we should get carried away. Eliminating wasteful government spending is a refrain from every new administration. She will be running the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and have this new title “Chief Performance Officer.” OMB has been the official waste watchdog, for at least decades. They are far from understanding muda. Time will tell if there is any change on that score going forward, I am skeptical.

Here is very typical OMB language from a 1995 memo by Alice M. Rivlin, Director of OMB:

Management controls are the organization, policies, and procedures used to reasonably ensure that (i) programs achieve their intended results; (ii) resources are used consistent with agency mission; (iii) programs and resources are protected from waste, fraud, and mismanagement; (iv) laws and regulations are followed; and (v) reliable and timely information is obtained, maintained, reported and used for decision making.

I worked with improving management in the federal government at the Office of Personnel Management, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Quality Management Office and the White House Military Office. I was one of the founders of the ASQ Public Sector Network (now Government Division) and have managed the Public Sector Continuous Improvement Site since 1995. There have been plenty of great efforts to improve management in government that have made real progress. But there is much more that needs to be done.

There are complications in applying management improvement in government but they are fairly minor comparatively. In general, the difficulty is not the necessary adjustments for a different environment than the private sector, but similar challenges to improving private sector management.

In 1982, The Grace Commission provided a report to the Regan Administration. Radio Address to the Nation on the Management of the Federal Government by Ronald Reagan, October 29, 1988

“We also set up the Private Sector Survey on Cost Control led by Peter Grace — almost 200 top business executives. This Commission spent months looking at every part of the Government, finding out where modern business practices could eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse in the Government. When they were through, they’d come up with 2,478 suggestions. And almost every recommendation we could put into effect without congressional action has been implemented. And we’ve saved close to $80 billion. We’re hoping that the next Congress will pitch in and do its part.”

The Clinton administration had the National Performance Review which was the closest thing to an attempt to move toward my concept of management improvement.

The current administration had their own President’s Management Agenda. Government Accountability: Efforts to Identify and Eliminate Waste and Mismanagement Hearing before the Committee on International Relations, House of Representatives, September 4, 2003.
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Lean Management in Policing

photo of Jacksonville Sheriff Office Lean Team

Justice served up Jacksonville–style is all lean by Joe Jancsurak:

The Jacksonville Sheriff Office’s (JSO) Crime Reducing Initiatives Management and Enforcement Strategies (CRIMES) measures, tracks and analyzes crime-fighting statistics, such as the number of arrests and value of stolen and recovered property. Such findings are instrumental in determining the overall effectiveness of the JSO and where improvements need to be made.

Investigations stress uniformity. Lean “changed how we approach investigations,” says Sheriff Rutherford. “We found that three officers investigating three different burglaries might ask three different sets of questions. So we developed a standard form showing the questions that should be asked to ensure consistency.”

Hiring of school crossing guards made more expedient. “This one’s amazing,” Sheriff Rutherford chuckles. “It was taking us 68 days to hire someone from our eligibility list because we were sending candidates all over for different parts of the interview process. Now it takes us just three days to make a decision because we’re practicing ‘one-stop hiring.'”

This reminds me of the first efforts I know of for such efforts in policing (from the 1980s): Quality Improvement and Government: Ten Hard Lessons From the Madison Experience by David C. Couper, Chief of Police, City of Madison, Wisconsin.

Via: Upcoming Podcast: Lean Law Enforcement

Related: Failure to Address Systemic SWAT Raid FailuresLA Jail Saves Time Processing CrimeThe Public Sector and DemingCurious Cat Management Improvement Search Engine

Mississippi Plans Manufacturing Management Center

Ole Miss plans manufacturing center

Ole Miss plans to build a center to teach manufacturing management skills. Gov. Haley Barbour, Ole Miss officials and Toyota executives announced the $22 million Center for Manufacturing Excellence on Monday in Jackson. Construction of the 47,000- square-foot center could start this fall.

“We in Mississippi continue to have a larger percentage of our population employed in manufacturing than the country as a whole,” Barbour said. “One way to help our businesses innovate and stay successful is to give them world-class people to employ, whether it’s engineers or business majors or people who work on the line.”

By teaching principles of lean manufacturing, total quality management and just-in-time inventory delivery, the center will produce workers for many sectors including aerospace, electronics, technology and polymer sciences.

The center’s funding comes from the state’s $323.9 million incentive package for Toyota. The automaker is building a $1.3 billion plant in Blue Springs, about 50 miles from Oxford. Toyota reset the opening of the plant from early 2010 to May 2010 for economic and model-changeover reasons.

The center will offer four bachelor’s degree programs, two business-related and two engineering-related, all with a manufacturing emphasis. Barbour and Ole Miss Chancellor Robert Khayat will appoint a board to create a curriculum and oversee the center.

“We have completed the building drawings and expect to be receiving bids shortly. I would hope that construction would begin this fall,” Khayat said.

He said he expects 20 to 40 students the first year, with enrollment increasing dramatically in the following years. Most of the initial students likely will switch their majors from engineering or business. The interdisciplinary program will include cooperatives and externships.

“We’re going to see an interesting marriage between engineering and business. We think it will be a model for the future of manufacturing,” Khayat said.

Related: Engineering Innovation for Manufacturing and the EconomyManufacturing Employee Shortage in UtahGlobal Manufacturing Data by Country (Feb 2006 post)Trends in Manufacturing Jobs

Department of Defense Lean Six Sigma

Gordon England, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, signed a directive establishing policy and assigning responsibilities to institutionalize the effort throughout DoD. See a webcast of his speech [the broken link was removed] on lean six sigma to a DoD conference on continuous process improvement.

Leading Business Transformation the “Lean” Way [the broken link was removed]

Since it began employing LSS, the Department of the Navy (DON) has completed 1,700 Black Belt/Green Belt projects and over 2,000 Kaizen events (i.e., action-oriented events designed to improve existing processes). Initial projects were designed to build confidence and gain momentum for success in high-impact core business value streams. The DON’s total of 3,399 trained LSS Green Belts exceeds the Secretary’s goal of 2,000 by the end of 2006, and of the 935 trained LSS Black Belts in the DON, 93 have attained American Society for Quality (ASQ) Black Belt certification.

Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) joined with Raytheon to complete an LSS project, which ultimately saved $133.5M across the 2006 FYDP and $421M over the life of the Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) Block II program. The integrated product team developed a three-tier approach to reducing weapon unit cost over a two-year period. Success of the JSOW program has led to development of a follow-on Block III weapon system.

The Marine Corps is applying LSS concepts, analytic techniques, and tools to improve the process for identifying, evaluating and acquiring critically needed warfighting equipment. Initial analysis focused on the evaluation stage, where improvements reduced the time required for this step by 35% – from 131 days to 85 days – and identified savings valued at $135K per year.

The first LSS initiative for Army aviation scheduled maintenance was deemed a success and signals a more efficient future for maintaining the Fort Rucker helicopter fleet. More than 32 days of scheduled maintenance were saved during the first LSS effort for Aviation Unit Maintenance involving UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter scheduled maintenance. The first helicopter inducted into the newly developed process was returned to flying status in just 18 days, which included a four-day break for the Fourth of July weekend. That is a 67% improvement in phase flow efficiency from the previous average time of more than 50 days of phase cycle maintenance for the UH-60.

See: online six sigma resources and lean manufacturing resources from the Curious Cat management improvement web site.

Related: Government Lean Six SigmaPublic Sector Continuous Improvement Site – Transformation Through Lean Six Sigma [the broken link was removed] – Army Business Transformation [the broken link was removed] – History Of Quality Management OnlineMore Lean GovernmentArmy Lean Six Sigma
Doing More With Less in the Public Sector: A Progress Report from Madison, Wisconsin by William G. Hunter, Jan O’Neill, and Carol Wallen, June 1986.

2007 Baldrige National Quality Award

2007 Baldige awardee representatives in the Oval Office

The Baldrige National Quality Award winners for 2007 are:

  • PRO-TEC Coating, Leipsic, Ohio (small business)
  • Mercy Health System [the broken link was removed], Janesville, Wisconsin (health care)
  • Sharp HealthCare [the broken link was removed], San Diego, California (health care)
  • City of Coral Springs [the broken link was removed], Coral Springs, Fla. (nonprofit)
  • U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center [the broken link was removed] (ARDEC), Picatinny Arsenal, N.J. (nonprofit)

President Bush met with winners for the first time since 2000, I believe (photo from Coral Springs web site). He did in private this year in the Oval Office. The Baldridge award had more prestige in the management community 10 years ago. In my opinion the award has failed to attract the best managed companies to apply.

When you purport to recognize the highest level of management excellence you should understand that leaving out those companies that are widely seen as excellent calls into question the credibility of the award. I can understand the challenge in convincing many potential applicants to apply. I would say that is the same challenge companies have that want to convince potential customers their solution is what the customer should purchase.

ARDEC provides a public version of their application [the broken link was removed] (some details removed) that is interesting. ARDEC received the President’s Award Quality in 2000. From 1998 to 2002 the President’s Quality Award [the broken link was removed] recognized management excellence in the federal government based on a Baldrige-style system (it was then switched from Baldrige-style to generic “excellence”).

Related: 2005 Baldrige AwardVice President Presents Baldrige Awards (2004)Problems with Lean Manufacturing Awards2007 Shingo Prize for Excellence in ManufacturingManagement excellence in governmentDeming Prize 2007

Confusing Customer Focus

Misuse of the “Customer” Concept [the broken link was removed]

“We are told that the airlines are our customers,” FAA inspector Charlambe “Bobby” Boutris said. “But we have a more important customer, the taxpayers” who want government to ensure a safe aviation system.

That’s crazy. The FAA is supposed to be serving and protecting the passengers, not the airlines. This is like a supervisor in a workplace treating their employee as a customer… even in a “servant leadership” environment, that’s not right.

“Customer focus” is good, but only if you properly define customer relationships. I’d prefer the FAA think of me and my fellow travelers as the “customer,” not the airlines.

I agree there are several different customers. This is actually not uncommon outside of government but for government agencies multiple “customers” that might have divergent desires are more frequent. But the “customer” frame of reference I still think has value.

I actually think the problem is the way people choose to interpret the idea. If I buy a car from a dealer they don’t sell it to me for $100. They don’t agree to not tell the government so I can avoid sales tax. They don’t agree to sell me a car that is not legal in the state. Customer service does not mean do what is in the interest of the customer irregardless of laws, regulations, good business practices, etc..

I would say doctors don’t give patients anti-biotics for viral infections (but actually they do). They shouldn’t. When doctors behave irresponsibly and give antibiotics in ways that harm the heath of society, some might try to claim it is because they are giving the patient/customer what they want. That is not a reasonable excuse.
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Manufacturing Employee Shortage in Utah

Utah scrambling to meet need for technical workers [the broken link was removed]

The state faces challenges in generating necessary interest to fill available manufacturing jobs for what Utah’s governor has called the state’s “Aerospace Hub,” both immediately and in the future, the report said.

The situation continues to worsen, with jobs being created and unemployment remaining low in the state. And as the current work force ages, the supply of skilled workers is diminishing, forcing employers to recruit outside of Utah and sometimes leave Utah altogether, the report said.

The college’s Lean Manufacturing Center [the broken link was removed] was built from an old warehouse with state funds and $30 million from rocket-booster manufacturer Williams International. Williams provides the college with equipment and mentors to train students with practical, real-world applications, said Lloyd McCaffrey, the Lean Center’s director.

Related: Engineering Innovation for Manufacturing and the EconomyApplied Quality Engineering EducationWisconsin ManufacturingTop 10 Manufacturing CountriesHelp Wanted: Lean Manufacturing ExpertsThe Lean MBA

Stupid Bureaucratic Requirement

Quaker teacher fired for changing loyalty oath

California State University East Bay has fired a math teacher after six weeks on the job because she inserted the word “nonviolently” in her state-required Oath of Allegiance form.

“I don’t think it was fair at all,” said Kearney-Brown. “All they care about is my name on an unaltered loyalty oath. They don’t care if I meant it, and it didn’t seem connected to the spirit of the oath. Nothing else mattered. My teaching didn’t matter. Nothing.”

Modifying the oath “is very clearly not permissible,” the university’s attorney, Eunice Chan, said, citing various laws. “It’s an unfortunate situation. If she’d just signed the oath, the campus would have been more than willing to continue her employment.”

Modifying oaths is open to different legal interpretations. Without commenting on the specific situation, a spokesman for state Attorney General Jerry Brown said that “as a general matter, oaths may be modified to conform with individual values.”

“I honor the Constitution, and I support the Constitution,” she said. “But I want it on record that I defend it nonviolently.”

My take: stupid unthinking government action. First I can’t see what value the signing does at all. But even if you think there is some aim that having everyone sign supports does a Quaker inserting non-violently harm that aim in some way? Is it really unquestioningly doing whatever you are told that is the value that is what is being aimed for? Seems pretty clear to me from even this short article this teacher understands the constitution much better than most people and cares enough to take the values that constitution endorses seriously. While the government looks like they only care about getting their form on file and don’t care at all what the purpose of that form is (the purpose can’t really be just to coerce everyone to sign it, can it?).

To me she is doing a great service to defend that constitution with her actions. Hopefully she can do so and have her job. But standing up for what is right often can leave you worse off personally.

I understand that it is easier to ignore the purpose and just focus on compliance with the rules. But what does it say if your actions show that actually loyalty doesn’t matter and signing something you don’t believe is ok? It just bothers me that this loyalty oath situation puts an emphasis on empty promises above the true intent of the constitution. Devaluing it harms us all in the long term.

Related: The First AmendmentPublic ManagementCustomer Un-focus

Six Sigma for Erie County Government

Chris Collins proposed bringing six sigma to Erie County government in his campaign for county executive. He won the election. From his web site:

In business, you satisfy your customers or you fail. But in Erie County government, if you fail taxpayers who are your customer, nothing happens. Under Chris Collins, that will change.

As County Executive, Chris Collins will reform county government to make sure it serves its customers: the taxpayers. He will implement new management techniques – Total Quality Management, Continuous Improvement, ISO, Six Sigma and more – to focus on making every government agency and worker more efficient and accountable. These are the same techniques he’s used to turn around failing companies.
Chris Collins will also choose a business management expert as Deputy County Executive – and then make their only duty to fight everyday to make sure taxpayers get the value we deserve for our tax dollar

Where did he pick up this interest in six sigma? He is the founder, owner, Chairman and CEO of Audubon Machinery:

Audubon is a Six Sigma quality company focused on Total Quality Management, Continuous Improvement, and Lean Manufacturing. The operations manager at Audubon is a Six Sigma Black Belt driving continuous improvement with a focus on customer service.

Audubon Machinery is one of the fastest growing companies in the United States and will be recognized on the INC 500 list this year as well as the new Business First list of the fastest growing companies in Western New York.

I wish him luck in bringing management improvement practices to Erie County.

Related: Bringing Deming to the Public SectorPublic Sector Continuous Improvement SiteSix Sigma City Government