The City of Tyler, Texas, is launching the second phase of its citywide Lean Sigma program. The first phase of the program enabled the City to reduce costs and improve processes, netting a 179 percent return on investment in just one year.
Tyler initiated 17 projects in October 2009 and to date nine projects have been completed – resulting in $149,559 in reduced costs and 2,500 work hours saved.
City leaders deployed Lean Sigma in a proactive effort to reduce costs and address potential budget shortfalls caused by tough economic conditions.
“We wanted to be innovative in finding ways to save tax dollars, eliminate waste and improve customer service for our citizens,” said City Manager Mark McDaniel.  “By all accounts, year one of our Lean Sigma program has yielded exceptional results citywide.”
Highlights from Phase One of Tyler’s Lean Sigma program include:
• Police:  Reduced defect rate in evidence processing;
• Water:  Improved variation of response time for customer call-outs (variation of 30-60 minutes to less than 20 minutes);
• Fire:  Implementation of Total Predictive Maintenance program (estimated annual savings of $220,000); and,
• Legal:  Reduced document review time from 16 days to 8 days.
Phase two projects, rolled out in October 2010, will focus on improving urgent repair processes in Neighborhood Services, reducing the time required to get more police officers on the street, lowering the costs of chemicals in the City’s water treatment facility and lowering vehicle parts inventory meds online without on hand.
Manufacturers historically have relied on Lean Sigma to improve quality and speed through process improvements.  Tyler was attracted to the program because it believed process improvements would lead to better performance across a swath of government functions. The recruitment and training of employees to lead departmental changes has been critical to the program.  To date, Tyler has 27 green belts, 78 blue belts and two black belts.
“Our employees are enthusiastic because they’re helping their departments cut costs and operate more efficiently,” said McDaniel. “This initiative has taken Tyler’s Blueprint focus on continuous improvement to the next level. The program is reaching all levels of the organization through project teams so improvements are driven by those involved in the process.”
Tyler officials estimate that Lean Sigma will save $557,522 dollars during the first two phases of its implementation.