Lean Six Sigma and Continuous Improvement

DMAIC - Becoming a high performing organization

Becoming a High-Performing Organization

Supervisors understand the unintentional effects of isolating decisions at the highest level of the organization, see value in sharing decision-making responsibilities, and discussed delegation of responsibilities to front-line employees. City leadership is interested in enhancing the organization and the community we serve through improved leadership and empowerment.

By definition, Lean Six Sigma is a fact-based, data-driven philosophy of improvement that values defect prevention over defect detection. It drives customer satisfaction and bottom-line results by reducing variation, waste, and cycle time, while promoting the use of work standardization and flow, thereby creating a competitive advantage. It applies anywhere variation and waste exist, and every employee should be involved.

Lean Six Sigma teams use the DMAIC process to complete their projects. DMAIC is an acronym that refers to the five phases: Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control. The DMAIC process provides teams with a methodological framework to work logically through a process improvement from issue identification through solution implementation and improvement control.

  • In the Define phase, teams will have a completed project charter, including an assessment of customer needs, and a high-level representation of the current state.
  • In the Measure phase, teams will drill down into the process and produce the baseline data that will be used to measure progress.
  • The Analyze phase looks at the linkages between cause and effect. This step also includes an evaluation of the value-added and non-value-added steps and identifies “waste.” In Lean, waste is something that uses resources but does not add value to the customer. The goal of Lean Six Sigma is to eliminate waste and enable staff to focus on mission-critical tasks of value to the defined customers.
  • In the Improve phase, teams brainstorm and prioritize potential solutions. At this stage, the team may pilot or actually implement the selected improvement option.
  • Finally, the Control phase marks project closure and ongoing controls to ensure the improvement “sticks.” The team produces documentation and comparative measures to assess the value-added through the improvement. This is also the time to share the results and acknowledge the work of the team!

Projects Completed to Date

Our first Process Improvement Teams presented their results to our managers on April 22, 2021.  The three projects were:

  • Centralized purchase of common goods
  • Redefining the fleet purchasing process, incorporating sustainability
  • Improve the process of clearing sidewalks and bike paths of snow and ice

2022 Projects: 

  •  Streamline the Special Events Permit Application Process 
  • Standardize Front Counter Services at all Locations 
  •  Improve the Library Materials Requisition Process 

The story continues

As the city continues the journey of becoming a high-performing organization, the Executive Leadership Team will establish metrics of success. 

The 2023 Lean Six Sigma Class will present their results to City managers on June 9, 2023. This year's projects include:

  • Employee Onboarding Process
  • Development Review Process (TRC)

To review the Employee Onboarding Process report, click here 

To review the Development Review Process report, click here