After the initial successes of the City’s Lean Six Sigma program at the White, Yellow and Green Belt levels as well as the accreditation of the program by the International Association of Six Sigma Certification, the city launched its first Lean Six Sigma Black Belt course.
The course was comprised of 18 full days of rigorous training which included practical, theoretical and technical modules. Students were challenged to relate information normally applied to manufacturing to governmental processes and navigate uncharted (and sometimes stormy) seas. Their journey ended on December 16th 2015 as the Performance Improvement group proctored the IASSC Black Belt examination. The four hour, 150 question examination was described as “one of the hardest tests I’ve ever taken.” Despite this sentiment, all 12 of our candidates passed the examination and became certified as Lean Six Sigma Black Belts.
Project Summary: After fielding complaints from client departments, Houston Information Technology Services assigned a green belt team to take a comprehensive look at their process for installing new network cable outlets. The team was able to identify opportunities to streamline the process using existing vendor resources while also potentially reducing costs by over $300,000 annually.
Project Summary: The US Department of Housing and Urban Development has strict requirements on accuracy and completeness for project records associated with federal grant dollars dollars. The City of Houston’s Housing and Community Development Department worked to develop a standardized workflow process for project submissions, created an electronic workflow process to automate error checking, and implemented an internal controls process.
Project Summary: Human Resources’ Learning Development Center offers occupational training to internal and external resources at the City but experienced some chargeback delays in FY2015. A team of green belts documented the process, created standard work, and developed internal controls to ensure chargebacks occurred timely and accurately.
Project Summary: A Houston Police Department green belt team reduced the CJIS vetting process by ~50% while also reallocating classified personnel to other areas in the organization to avoid over $200,000 in additional classified personnel costs annually.
Lean Six Sigma (LSS) is a customer centric way of thinking and problem solving that seeks to continually identify and eliminate waste.
Project Summary: In phase 1 of a comprehensive re-visioning of the Department of Neighborhoods' service processes, the Inspections and Public Service team increased employee morale by offering flexible teleworking opportunities, increased inspections by placing more management out in the field, and decreased the cycle time from initial receipt of a complaint to the time of inspection by one-third. As an added benefit, the division also saw an ~27% reduction in fuel usage due to the teleworking program.
Since its inception in 2013, the City of Houston’s Lean Six Sigma program has gained a lot of momentum. To date, we've trained over 1,300 employees at the yellow belt level and 100 green belts. These employees have gone on to create efficiency citywide by streamlining processes, decreasing waste and creating internal efficiency that have led to cost savings in some of our biggest departments.
The Performance Improvement Division’s goal is to create a culture of continuous improvement in the City of Houston. One of the ways we are doing this is by offering relevant training that meets the needs of all employees across the organization. We have sought to distinguish ourselves as leaders in Lean Six Sigma education by conducting training that is robust and consistent with trainers that are experts in the field.
In May of 2015, the City of Houston’s Lean Six Sigma program was recognized by the International Association of Six Sigma Certification (IASSC) as an Accredited Deployment Program. Our program is the first government sponsored Lean Six Sigma program to be accepted by the IASSC. This monumental accomplishment couldn’t have come at a more opportune time; the City’s first Lean Six Sigma Black Belt course is tentatively scheduled for August 2015. Participants will be able to certify with IASSC and be recognized internationally as experts in Lean Six Sigma Methodology.
Project Summary: PWE's Records Management division reorganized its group structure to optimize use of personnel and equipment while simultaneously reducing overtime by an average of $67,200 annually. Additionally, the team eliminated all non-compliant TPIA requests by ensuring that all requests were addressed in a timely fashion.