Business Center

Business Case for Lean Process Improvement

Successful improvement efforts require unwavering leadership commitment and an ability to explain why the initiative is important to customers and to employees. The material provided below is intended to help leaders describe why Lean process improvement is crucial to improving services for the customers of the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT).

The Challenges We Face

CDOT faces many challenges as we build the CDOT of the Future to serve the Colorado of the Future, including Increasing customer expectations for better, faster, cheaper and more customized services;

  • An aging workforce. CDOT will be faced with an unprecedented number of retirements during the next few years. There simply will not be enough talented people in the labor force to fill behind those who will be retiring, unless we make crucial changes now
  • A workforce that is static in size, and an increasing need for a workforce with different skills that are matched to the needs of the transportation system of the twenty-first century
  • Declining or static budgets, coupled with increasing performance expectations
  • Public pressure for greater accountability and transparency of government services to citizens.

The challenges noted above compel us to seek opportunities to enhance the effectiveness, efficiency and elegance of our CDOT products and services.

The Benefits of Lean Process Improvement

The application of Lean process improvement thinking, principles, methods and practices at CDOT can help us address these challenges without undermining the value of the services we deliver to our customers. It will help us:

  • Reduce the cost of providing public services by reducing defects, errors and other types of waste
  • Improve the quality of our products and services by solving problems at the source, understanding the needs and requirements of customers, employing best practices, and identifying no cost and low-cost creative solutions
  • Improve the speed of providing services by eliminating non-value added steps, handoffs in the process, and leveraging information technology where appropriate
  • Improve consistency in providing services by standardizing forms, procedures, and roles and responsibilities
  • Enhance customer satisfaction and reduce customer complaints
  • Increase employee engagement by utilizing the skills and talents of CDOT people to solve problems, create innovations and improve processes
  • Reduce risk by
    • creating safe, orderly, high performing work environments
    • standardizing work within a process
    • 30 identifying and mitigating negative impacts of process changes
  • Reduce the time to bring new employees “up to speed”, because institutional knowledge will have been documented in the form of standard work
  • Be accountable and transparent, by reporting performance measures and accomplishments
  • Build our reputation through networking and sharing of best practices
  • Foster a continuous improvement culture that attracts top-notch talent and expands our ability to enhance customer value.

Lean Continuous Improvement Strategy

CDOT’s strategy for Lean continuous improvement includes these elements:

  • Conduct educational awareness and methodology training, and ensure effective execution of process improvement efforts – both large and small
  • Promote smaller, workgroup-focused improvement and innovations throughout CDOT as a key method for improving products and processes on a day-in, day-out basis
  • Facilitate larger process improvement projects to streamline more-complex processes
  • Provide standard “self-help” project toolkits and materials
  • Measure to track and communicate performance results
  • Reward and recognize successes and celebrate improvements and innovations!

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