Almost a year ago, I blogged about the Government of the State of Iowa and its lean efforts.  Right now, I am on the Lean Enterprise Institute’s "Success Stories" web site reading about another lean success story by David Drickhamer for the State of Iowa, this time for the Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown.

The article describes how the kaizen process for them is no different than when used in manufacturing:

By Wednesday or Thursday, they’d been told, emotions would run high, patience would wear thin, arms would cross, and progress would grind to a halt. That’s exactly what happened.

In terms of process steps, here’s what they gained:

The new process, which fully unfolded over the coming months, trimmed the number of steps from 124 to 91, cutting delays and handoffs by 69%.

The entire lean process has put new emphasis on who the customer is, which is of course the residents, and is resulting in building a new facility:

Reflecting a movement in the healthcare and nursing home industry toward “patient-centered care,” the new facilities will feature private rooms and warmly decorated common areas with full kitchens.

The article continues with an impressive list of improvements that have been achieved at this facility alone, spanning departments from administration to maintenance to admissions and the pharmacy process.

Drickhamer also covers some of the other departments within the Iowa Government that have achieved gains, including the DNR which took its permitting process for air quality construction permits down from 62 days to just six and eliminated a 600-application backlog.  These kind of results from government not only eliminate a lot of headaches for people, but also begin to tear down the perception of government as a big, inflexible, red-tape-riddled organization.  Read the whole article here.