Running Lean -- Minnesota Wants Advice on Running Lean

Comment by USA VALUES, LLC

In order for any organization to run lean it must do first things first, right the first time (FTFRTFT). Google FTFRTFT High Quality Continuous Improvement. All states have huge opportunity for innovation and savings in the cost of K-12 Education when the districts manage to receive (starting kindergarten) 100% of the children ready to read, count and understand positive direction.

This is so powerful of a FTFRTFT development that it could be used to create the new money for new 100% deliveries that would reset all the issues in K-12 education classrooms. K-12 Education at the district level could adapt a FTFRTFT High Quality Continuous Improvement Process of their own design without any delay. Quality is Free.

Story to Start the Process of Lean Constraint Managment

Suggesting Schools Adapt Knowledge of FTFRTFT Lean Constraint Management

Now back to the article - State wants advice on running lean

From Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal

Link to Site and Full Article with Links

Premium content from Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal by John Vomhof Jr., Staff reporter/broadcaster Date: Friday, January 27, 2012, 5:00am CST - Last Modified: Friday, January 27, 2012, 9:07am CST - Minneapolis / St. Paul Business JournalJohn Vomhof Jr. covers retail, restaurants, hospitality, sports business, and advertising/public relations/media. He's also on the air on WCCO-AM 830 with Dave Lee daily at 8:45 a.m. and on Fox 9 TV Fridays at 5:30 & 6:30

The state of Minnesota is increasingly turning to businesses for help in streamlining its operations, building upon the success it’s had working with General Mills Inc. on a lean-management initiative.

During the past four years, General Mills has shared its best practices to help the state expand a lean-management program and trim millions of dollars from the budget. It also has helped train hundreds of government workers to identify ways to reduce costs and improve productivity.

That partnership has been so successful that the state wants to forge more public-private ties to assist with government reforms. The Minnesota Business Partnership , an organization that represents the state’s largest employers, recently sent its members a memo requesting help on four key initiatives identified by the Minnesota Department of Administration:

• A symposium for best practices on shared services, particularly in the areas of finance, procurement and human resources.

• Transforming business processes after implementing a new enterprise-resource planning (ERP) system.

• An “opportunity analysis” for the state bookstore.

• A symposium on the expansion of the state’s Small Agency Resource Team (SmART), which performs back-office finance and human-resources functions for small agencies.

Gov. Mark Dayton has identified the continuous improvement of government services as a core tenant of his administration, said Spencer Cronk, commissioner of the Department of Administration. That process started during Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s administration, but has accelerated since Dayton took office a year ago.“This was a good idea from the Pawlenty administration, and we weren’t going to throw the baby out with the bath water,” Cronk said. “We’ve built on our relationship with General Mills, and now we’re launching into phase two of looking at how we can build and expand on other relationships within the business community. The governor is really committed this, and the work is really just beginning.”

Paying off

State officials say the initial efforts have paid big dividends.To date, the state has trained more than 5,000 employees from 23 state agencies, 20 counties and four cities through its lean-management program. It also has hosted roughly 250 “kaisen” events where government employees come together to brainstorm problems and ideas for how to fix them. Officials estimate that each meeting generates $90,000 in savings, primarily by eliminating needless work for staffers — a projection that would put the total savings at approximately $22.5 million over the life of the program.

The Minnesota Department of Revenue, for example, was able to save taxpayers $1 million by moving to an electronic check-processing system that dramatically reduced the number of tax forms that were sent to incorrect addresses. The state also cut in half the number of insurance applications that need to be reworked and has reduced the wait time for new signs at state parks from nine months to three months.

While lean management’s roots are in the manufacturing sector, the principles can be applied elsewhere, including state government, said John Church, General Mills’ senior vice president of supply chain. “Lean philosophy is built on the idea of putting in as few resources as possible to do the most effective job,” he said. “It’s a process of really eliminating wasted time, wasted money and wasted effort.”

Of course, maximizing resources has become more important than ever for the state as it has struggled with multibillion-dollar budget shortfalls in recent years, said Tom Baumann, manager of the state’s Enterprise Lean Program. “People are looking for the one big thing that’s going to solve all of the state’s budget problems, but that doesn’t exist,” he said. “It takes hard work. You have to get your hands dirty. Waste is everywhere in government, but you can’t see it because it’s not just a line item in a budget.”

Minnesota has become nationally recognized for its efforts in lean management. The Department of Administration has hosted officials from Tennessee and Iowa, and frequently receives phone calls from other states.Good for everyone

While Golden Valley-based General Mills has scaled back its role on the lean-management program to allow state officials to carry the load, the company maintains an ongoing commitment to assisting in those efforts. In July, it participated in a lean-management leadership conference for 80 senior managers from across state government, and two company executives serve on the state’s lean-management steering committee. “Gov. Dayton was handed a very, very large deficit, and we felt it was our responsibility to do whatever we can to help,” Church said. “It’s an opportunity for us to give back and make a difference in the state. We’ve been operating here for over 150 years. We pay taxes and have 6,500 employees in the state, so we see this as part of our mission of nourishing the community.”

Many local businesses share that sentiment, said Charlie Weaver, executive director of the Minnesota Business Partnership. Companies have been forced to become more efficient during the recession, and they’re excited to share the lessons they’ve learned with the state. ““We’ve got some of the best companies in the world in our own backyard — companies like Cargill , Target and Medtronic — so we’d be silly not to take advantage of their expertise,” he said. “And if government is more efficient, we all win — whether you’re a person waiting in line to get your license at the Department of Motor Vehicles or a mining company waiting on a permit.”

Help wanted

The Minnesota Department of Administration reached out to the Minnesota Business Partnership to ask its members to share their best practices in the following areas:1) Shared services best practice symposiumDetails: The state wants agencies to share more back-office functions, particularly in the areas of finance, procurement and human resources.Commitment: Half day with participants from multiple companies and state agencies.2) Transforming business processes after implementing a new enterprise-resource planning (ERP) systemDetails: State officials want to understand how companies have transformed their operations after implementing a new ERP system.Commitment: Half day with participants from multiple companies and state agencies.3) State bookstore opportunity analysisDetails: Officials seek retail executives to provide insights into the state’s bookstore operations.Commitment: Three or four meetings with administration staff over a period of one or two months, followed by the preparation of a high-level set of observations and recommendations4) Small Agency Resource Team (SmART) expansion symposiumDetails: Officials seek lessons learned from companies where small divisions are served by a central group, as opposed to shared services. Commitment: Half day with participants from multiple companies and state agencies.

Author John Vomhof Jr. covers retail, restaurants, hospitality, sports business, and advertising/public relations/media. He's also on the air on WCCO-AM 830 with Dave Lee daily at 8:45 a.m. and on Fox 9 TV Fridays at 5:30 & 6:30