The Lean Six Sigma system was explained in a presentation for business members in November of 2013 by City Hall in Karawatha Lakes, Ontario. The city’s goal was to review their new performance-based system of management to business leaders in order for them to understand how the system will work for the government.

The management system was already in place and fully utilized at the time of the meeting. City officials felt the program would streamline business interactions, and they were not disappointed with the results.

Nearly 50 business associates attended the city sponsored lunch, located at Lindsay Country Club. Some of these attendees were independent business owners, while others were managers or directors of various agencies, such as Kawartha Lakes Boys and Girls Clubs and Community Care.

One local business leader, who had previously witnessed LSS, contested to its successful results.

This same business professional was quick to note that a number of business are being forced to reevaluate how they do business, especially as government funding for individual municipalities slowly disappears. LSS works for these companies because it is created to utilize hard data, eliminating business inefficiencies and finding better methods of operation. When a certain 10-year Community Vision document was not renewed in 2012, senior council were able to review priorities, engage with stakeholders and discover a new plan to align with their current Strategic Plan through the LSS software.

Kawartha Lakes has recently been defined as one which pursues community prosperity, healthy environments and high quality of life. The City is running itself tailored to its customers, similar to popular business models.

Another luncheon attendee added her positive remarks regarding the providence of New Brunswick and their use of the LSS program. The province budgeted $2 million to begin the process and saved $11 million over the first year of program implementation. A specific example of how the City saved that much money was the use of the software to find out how much wasted food came from a specific small hospital. After the data was collected, the software was able to configure cost of that food and how those costs would project in a larger hospital.

Kawartha Lakes approved less than half a million for the program; they expect to save $1.2 million. They will double their money in one fiscal year.

The City of Kawartha Lakes kicked off a year long training program to create six black belt staff members who will work on large projects using the software. A number of green belt employees will take on smaller projects. City officials argued that the software gives the best returns when it is used to empower staff. This brings workers to the front lines, where ideas are heard and their interest in making the program great is intensified.

Karawatha Lakes will use the program in the future to examine absenteeism and payroll processing. The City will search for co-relations between those who are absent often and their displeasure with their work. Productivity will be improved when the City can implement programs to improve employee morale. The payroll department hopes to reduce the amount of paper used, saving money over the course of the year.

Naysayers claim the program is only implemented to “clean out City hall,” or get rid of employees. City hall representatives strongly disagree with this point.

The idea behind the program is to allow every employee to speak up and present ideas. The days of management making all the decisions are quickly leaving City hall. When employees who work on the forefront are not allowed to share ideas, City hall runs less efficiently. When it comes to who should be heard when trying to implement changes, Kawartha Lakes City hall officials were quoted as saying, “Ask the ones who do the work.”

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