Contact Information

  • Governor's Communications Office, 360-902-4136

Gov. Gregoire announces early results of Lean management efforts

For Immediate Release: October 23, 2012

OLYMPIA – Gov. Chris Gregoire today released a report she requested late last year as part of her continuing effort to cut costs and make state government more efficient. Last December, Gregoire signed Executive Order 11-04, which directed state agencies to adopt Lean principles and techniques, complete at least one Lean project by August 2012 and submit a report summarizing lessons learned from Washington’s Lean transformation journey.

The Governor discussed the report and preliminary results during her opening comments at the Washington State Government Lean Transformation Conference in Tacoma. Her remarks kicked off the two-day conference to boost state government employee understanding of Lean concepts, tools and techniques.

“Lean helps us do business more efficiently. And I couldn’t be happier to tell you today that we’re well on our way with impressive results,” Gregoire said. “Given our continuing economic changes and the clear success of Lean in the business world, I can assure you Lean is definitely not the flavor of the month ... . It’s here and it works.”

The inaugural report of executive cabinet agencies’ progress — Lean Transformation Report: 2012 and Beyond — highlights key activities, agency project results and recommendations for extending Washington’s Lean focus into 2013 and beyond. Agency project results include the following:

• Cutting customer service center call wait time by more than 4 minutes and increasing the number of calls answered by 3,400 per month. (Department of Licensing)
• Decreasing the time it takes to process Drinking Water State Revolving Fund loan applications so projects were approved two months earlier than last year. (Department of Health)
• Reducing delays in the Ability to Work Assessment process. When workers are injured and unlikely to return to work with their current employer, a vocational counselor conducts an AWA to determine the need for vocational rehabilitation. The median duration of AWA referrals made in January 2012 was 171 days, a 51 day-reduction compared to January 2011. (Department of Labor and Industries)

“This type of transformation is not easy and, fortunately, we didn’t have to do it alone. We partnered with and learned from Boeing, Virginia Mason and 18 other private sector partners that mentored and trained state employees and facilitated site visits,” Gregoire said.

To read more about Washington’s Lean Transformation, the Governor's executive order or to learn more about the Washington State Government Lean Transformation Conference, please visit the links provided.