Spokane, Washington has acted to be smart in its cost-cutting efforts by hiring a full time change agent to look at how Lean Six Sigma can help them make smart cuts. Lean Six Sigma is a methodology that has proven itself in countless applications in manufacturing, services, transaction and healthcare businesses. Spokane’s leaders believe that it can help government too.
Earlier this year the City council decided to offer a no-bid contract to the Indiana-based Lasater Institute for up to $90,000 to train 16 city workers in Six Sigma. The newly approved position will cost about $120,000 a year in pay and benefits.
“All the successful implementations of Six Sigma, be it federal, municipal or even in the private sector, they all have a central office where the program is administered,” City Administrator Ted Danek said.
The move is not without its critics. “If the city of Spokane wanders into it without keen awareness and careful caution of that fact, it could spell disaster at one of the worst times in our economic history.” Says former City Council candidate Donna McKereghan. However, the council voted 6-0 in support of the new job.
Indeed, Six Sigma has already proven itself in Spokane. Six Sigma has already made the city more efficient, leading the city to streamline its approval process for contracts that don’t require City Council support from an average of 29 days to 10 days. According to Danek.