Successful Lean Event Among Two NH State Agencies

Teamwork is pivotal for any project success. Lean project work is no different. Every team member has a role and valuable information to provide. When processes impact multiple organizations or agencies, Lean can offer an avenue for common group and support critical improvement paths.

This State of New Hampshire two-agency (Department of Information Technology and Department of Environmental Services) Lean event team was charged to develop a new and improved software ordering process. The current business process included extra processing steps and periods of waiting, which created confusion at times. The goal for the team was to develop a clear process through using Lean methods and tools.

The multi-agency team came together to address organizational items including:
• Discrepancies with who gets software licenses
• Inconsistent information on order forms
• Current process not documented

Photo: (left to right) Lean Black Belt Candice Weingartner (NHDoIT), Anne-Marie Martin (NHDES), Terri Sabbia (NHDES), Lean Green Belt Dean Robinson (NHDES and Co-facilitator), Elaine Bolduc (NHDES), Lean Green Belt Susan Bergeron (NHDES and Co-facilitator), Lean Green Belt Muriel Lajoie (NHDES and Project Manager), Lean Green Belt Rob Cole (NHDoIT) and Dave Cormier (NHDoIT – not shown).

Overcoming recent staff turnover, three different ordering procedures (due to the class of funds), and multiple-agencies (not to mention involving outside vendors), the team worked hard over three half-days to systematically and deliberately craft a solution, using Lean and continuous improvement practices. Specifically the team used the project charter to identify the central problem and scope, Value Stream Mapping (VSM), identification of 8 Types of Waste (DOWNTIME), identified bottlenecks, brainstormed improvement ideas, through a facilitated Kaizen event.

The team used the VSMP approach to create a detailed map of the process, identified areas that could be improved and then documented a new and improved process. In addition, the team inventoried the list of information included on software order forms, and came up with more effective forms. The solution they developed that was effective, efficient, addressed all the original concerns, while being approved by all stakeholder groups, including the outside vendor.

With new recommendations identified, Muriel Lajoie will lead the charge to implement the improvement actions including creating a shared group mailbox, simplified but thorough software ordering checklists, and communicating a new procedure.

Candice Weingartner, DoIT Lean Coordinator and facilitator shares her insight stating; “DES and DoIT came together and effectively mapped out both current and future states.  They also came up with some fabulous bright ideas which were incorporated into the future state, along with some which will be used with the next phase.  All participants were dedicated to the process and engaged.  Kudos to all involved for a successful event.”

Congrats to the NH Department of Information Technology  and NH Department of Environmental Services on developing a streamlined process for ordering software!

For additional project information contact Candice Weingartner at Candice.Weingartner@doit.nh.gov or Dan Hrobak at Daniel.Hrobak@des.nh.gov.

Visit the State of New Hampshire’s Lean training website for additional information about Lean in NH State Government.

2019 Lean Black Belt Project Highlight: Lean for Leadership Collaborative

2019 Black Belt Capstone Project Highlight: Lean for Leaders Collaborative

Part 1 of a 3 Part Series

Photo: 2019 Lean Black Belt Candidates; Colin Capelle, State Procurement Card Administrator and  Suzy Easterling-Wood, Director of Utilization Management at NH Hampshire Hospital

As part of course work, the NH Bureau of Education and Training’s (BET)Lean Black Belt program requires a capstone project. The scope and purpose of a Lean Black Belt Capstone Project is to engage candidates in advancing the practice of Lean within their organizations or at a statewide level. At the end of the program year, candidates have a deliverable product demonstrating knowledge of the core foundations of Lean and as a Lean practitioner, demonstrating knowledge of how to engage in fostering a robust Lean culture.

As students of BET’s Class of 2019 Lean Black Belt program, Colin Capelle and Suzy Easterling-Wood set out to develop a project that provides a holistic, comprehensive overview of Lean culture, and emphasizes Lean tools easily accessible by leadership. Colin and Suzy designed a structured approach to educate leaders for the framework of a Lean culture.  This Capstone Project work places particular emphasis on the importance of clarifying roles for leaders, managers, employees, and facilitators. The Lean for Leaders Collaborative identifies those components essential to advancing Lean project work such as the importance of a holistic flow of communication and the practical application of Lean tools to advance the workforce towards a Kaizen event or other process improvement work.

An important element with Project Capstone work and any process improvement work is to review the current state. Colin and Suzy’s Capstone Project completed a formalized review of the Lean for Leaders curriculum in it’s previous state. They found accessibility points and delivery inefficiencies. The new and improved Lean for Leaders can be provided at a weekly team management meeting or a working lunch. Additionally, the Lean for Leaders practical application  adds value to programs as it can brought on site where “the work gets done”. To promote sustainability of a Lean culture within the State workforce, the session provides the opportunity for participants to share constructive feedback regarding the evolution of Lean awareness, how helpful the Lean for Leaders Collaborative session was by engaging in a practical application of a Plan Do Check Act cycle.

The goal of this project is to highlight Lean and relevant process improvement tools to use for practical application in the workplace. In alignment with the strategic plan for the Lean Executive Committee, the primary goal is to promote the use of Lean tools, methods and solutions at all agency levels.

Want to learn more? Join us for the next installment of Lean for Leaders Collaborative. We will find out more about Colin and Suzy’s roll out of the program, data collection efforts, and the statewide impact of their work!