Business Center

Process Improvement

Featured Improvement for the Week of Monday, March 27

Automatic Vehicle Location Systems Reduce Paperwork, Improve Early Detection of Problems

Seven employees in CDOT's Northeast Colorado region developed, designed and built an easy-to-use rumble strip carrier that saves thousands of dollars and improves safety.
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“Everyone, Every Day, Improving Every Process and Every Product, To Benefit Every Customer”.

At the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), we are improving our operations so that we can deliver excellent services and products to all of our customers. We are working to engage everyone, every day at CDOT to make government services more effective, efficient and elegant. This is crucial for fulfilling CDOT’s Mission: “To provide the best multi-modal transportation system for Colorado that most effectively and safely moves people, goods, and information”. One of CDOT’s top six multi-year priorities is to “improve business processes for better customer service and efficiency”.

However, that improvement does not happen magically; it requires focusing on key issues and working systematically to resolve those issues. To do that, CDOT applies continuous improvement tools and techniques, many of which were pioneered in the private sector. This includes the principles and practices of Lean process improvement.

CDOT’s process improvement initiative was recently honored when it was selected as a 2015 “Bright Idea” by the Innovations in American Government Awards program, which is administered by the Ash Center at Harvard University:

This website provides additional information about process improvement at CDOT.

1. What is “Lean”? Here is an overview about Lean at CDOT: Everyone, Every Day, Improving Every Process and Every Product, To Benefit Every Customer”.

2. How does CDOT improve processes, products and services? There are several different avenues which CDOT employees use to improve processes, products and services, including: a) Cross-functional improvement; b) Everyday Lean Improvement; and c) Everyday Ideas.

a. Cross-functional improvement. Some of our improvement efforts focus on larger, cross-functional processes: we sometimes refer to these as “Global Lean” projects. Some examples are provided here

Some of our cross-functional improvements incorporate information technology (IT) to enhance how we work. IT is a powerful tool for improving our business, enhancing customer service and reducing the cost of government. CDOT frequently partners with the Governor’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) to employ IT to make CDOT’s processes more effective, efficient, and elegant. Information about some of these efforts is provided at this link. 

Some of our improvement efforts also utilize the power of benchmarking to help us learn and improve. 

And, we are pleased to note that some of our cross-functional improvement projects have received national and international recognition

b. Everyday Lean Improvement. While some of our improvements are larger, cross-functional projects, many improvements at CDOT are more localized: individuals or small teams of people improving the processes, products and services within their own functions and workgroups, every day! Articles about some of these “Everyday Lean Improvement” efforts are at this link.  

c. Lean Everyday Ideas. Additionally, everyone at CDOT is encouraged to identify opportunities to make improvements to their workplaces and work processes, every day.  These “Lean Everyday Ideas” are innovations and ideas where one person (or a small group of people) will:

1) Identify a problem or opportunity;

2) Develop an innovative way of doing something better to solve that problem or seize upon that opportunity;

3) Test that innovative way, to make sure it works well; and then

4) Implement it, and let others know about it, so that they can “borrow” and implement the innovation, too!

These innovations and ideas are the embodiment of “Everyone, Every Day, Improving Every Process and Every Product, To Benefit Every Customer”. Here are some examples. 

Overall summaries of results from our CDOT process improvement efforts are available here.

3. What improvements are being pursued now? News about our process improvement efforts is provided here

-- And information about current and upcoming cross-functional Lean process improvement projects is available here

4. Some of the Lean tools, techniques and approaches that we use at CDOT are provided here and several useful process improvement references are noted here.

5. CDOT also works cooperatively with other similar governmental transportation organizations from England, Canada and the United States to promote process improvement, including through the Transportation Lean Forum

6.  People outside CDOT have noted the successes and benefits of our CDOT process improvement efforts, including information in these articles:

  • Working together to make CDOT more effective, efficient, and elegant—every day
Contact Information
Colorado: The Official State Web Portal