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We led a successful process improvement project last year that looking back now, we realize could easily not have gone well.
Last year, our company (a large manufacturing organization) was asked by the Newport News City Council to run a process improvement (kaizen) event for the Newport News Police Department. During our initial meeting with Chief Myers (Newport News Police Department), we realized that any changes to the booking process would impact the Sheriffa€™s Department and the Office of the Magistrate.
Next, we began planning with all three organizations for a four-day Value Stream Mapping event to be held the following month. At the start of the kaizen event itself we shared with with the team some basic introductions about what would all be doing together, and gave a brief overview of lean thinking and philosophy.
Changes that were made included: moving some of the booking process responsibilities from the police officers to the deputies, having an assigned sheriff position created to help with arrestees, bringing the initial medical assessment step of the process up so earlier so this is immediately available, improving flow (parking and entrance into the facility), and more clearly defining requirements for when hospital treatment is needed prior to booking. When these recommendations were reported to the Police Departmenta€™s senior staff, we were told that there were a€?gaspsa€? in the room.
One month later, we delivered a formal report-out of the teama€™s recommendations to the Police Chief, the Sheriffa€™s department, and the Office of the Magistrate. The fact that we selected a team leader who encouraged a collaborative style of interaction (and was liked and respected by both the Police and Sheriffa€™s Departments). In retrospect, we hope that this project and our partnership with the Newport News Police Department contributed to building a stronger community. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily represent the views or policies of The Lean Enterprise Institute. Wea€™re collecting your email address so that we can follow up with you should the need arise. Lean Enterprise Institute, the leaper image, and stick figure are registered trademarks of Lean Enterprise Institute, Inc. Lean Leadership Behaviors – An Example is an article that demonstrates key behaviors of lean leaders.
This might be a fine place to start, but is not ultimately what will sustain long-term lean and respect for people behaviors. Same number of events, but do a better job in sustaining the behavioral changes post-event. This image is the SQDC board from an large printing company I was fortunate enough to consult for.

Once you’ve identified and are tracking the key performance metrics, then it would be important to identify problems that prevent the team from meeting their performance targets. Incidentally, a Pareto Chart is a Histogram, except that it’s sorted from largest frequency to the lowest frequency.
This approach enables daily practice of looking toward target conditions, accountability to metrics, and daily practice of PDCA. In the next page, you’ll see a video of a Hospital that has applied this approach in their daily work. Again, this approach is called many different things, but the framework is simple and well known and supports daily Kaizen and prevents slipping back into Business as Usual.
His work is used in case studies at the Harvard Business School, Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia, and at Tepper School at Carnegie Mellon University. Given our experience conducting kaizen events, they wanted us to help them improve their booking process. We suggested that Chief Myers, Chief Magistrate Olliver, and Sheriff Morgan jointly act as sponsors the event. Then we asked team members to tell us about their frustrations with the current booking process, which together we captured on 80+ post-it notes on the current state map. And, at a personal level, it was particularly satisfying to help improve the work lives of the police officers, the sheriffa€™s deputies, and the magistrates. The diagram above is a good way to judge how you’re organization is doing in its lean journey. One way that I’ve applied it in supply chain, fulfillment, healthcare, software, and call centers is to have a daily practice that applies the concepts of Visual Management, managing to metrics, and applies PDCA in its daily work. The way we can support that concept in our daily management is by looking at how we performed in the previous 13 weeks. He helps companies like Amazon, Zappos, eBay, Backcountry, and others reduce costs and improve the customer experience. Their real goal was to free up police officer time so they could get police officers back on the street more quickly, in order to respond to community emergencies in a more timely manner.
Participants then examined the current process and developed recommendations for improvement toward a future state. The initial changes resulted in a better process for everyone and over 3,000 hours of annual savings in police officer time (this is the equivalent of 1 A? extra police officers on the street).

One of the magistrates stated that the new process was a€?100 times bettera€? and that a€?we should have been doing this all along.a€? All of the teama€™s recommendations were adopted, and this event was seen as a success. Additionally, this event further demonstrated that lean principles can be successfully applied in non-traditional (non-manufacturing) organizations. Robert Downing, Captain Gerald Grogan, Deputy Oscar Ruedas-Morales, Deputy Natasha Smith, Lt.
Because most days of the month are actually spent in Business as Usual than in the actual practice of lean. He does this through a systematic method for identifying pain points that impact the customer and the business and encourages broad participation from the company associates to improve their own processes.
As part of our a€?Community Relationsa€? efforts at my company, we (Erin Magee-Hall and Robert Downing) volunteered to lead their team in a process improvement event for just this purpose.
We then met with all three sponsors to discuss what typically happens during a process improvement workshop like this (including pre-work and follow-up activities), and discussed what support we hoped sponsors would provide for the teama€™s process improvement efforts.
Based on the teama€™s recommendations, a pilot project for the new arrestee intake process was conducted at the jail the following week. Finally, the team established an Intake Advisory Team (IAT) to help implement recommendations and continue reducing processing times.
The time savings were significant and team members were championing the changes going forward.
We received assurances of their support, including their willingness to adopt the recommendations of workshop participants.
We examined the flow of the process including the physical set-up of the magistratesa€™ office area and the police entry area into booking and even parking. Further, we recognized by the Newport News Sheriffa€™s Department - at their 9th Annual Promotion and Awards Ceremony, where the entire process improvement team received the Group Achievement Award.
Erin Magee-Hall, Major Rob Coleman, Magistrate Derek Ng Sui Hing, Captain Janie Vergakis, Officer Lance Jackson, Officer Nicholas Jefferson, and Captain Fredrick Hubbard. The first officer through the new process returned to his precinct and reported that the new intake process took 11 minutes.

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