Air Quality Division - New Source Review Program
Oil & Gas Permitting Kaizen Process

Kaizen:  Japanese word meaning continuous improvement.


The Air Quality Division’s New Source Review (NSR) Program is undertaking an internal review of the existing minor source oil and gas permitting processes.  NSR contracted with Guidon, a Lean Management business process review facilitator experienced in air quality environmental management, to guide the internal review from concept to implementation.  Using proven LeanSigmaTM techniques, staff and stakeholders reviewed internal business practices for areas of non-value added activity.  A new streamlined permitting process is being created by minimizing or removing non-value activity and incorporating new activities to meet the current regulatory challenges.

Several state environmental agencies have used Lean, Six Sigma, and similar business process improvement methods to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of agency permitting processes.  To learn more about the implementation experiences and results of five States see Working Smart for Environmental Protection Improving State Agency Processes with Lean and Six Sigma (available on EPA’s website at

The start of the Kaizen process for the NSR Program was to develop a Briefing Paper for DEQ and Air Quality Division management as well as potential Kaizen team participants.  Team participants were identified and invited to a Kaizen Pre-Event meeting held on May 31, 2007.  Each team participant received information and an agenda prior to the meeting.  In the Pre-Event meeting, team participants were briefed on the Kaizen methodology; developed scope, goals, and objectives for the week-long Kaizen event; and identified pre-work assignments.  The results of the Pre-Event meeting were captured in the Kaizen Event Charter

The Kaizen Event was held June 18-22 in Cheyenne.  Realizing that each Kaizen Event is different, we wanted to share a very brief overview of our 5-day experience.

At the end of the Kaizen Event, the New Source Review Program had a new process business map for permitting oil and gas minor sources and an action plan for implementing changes.  This plan included several follow up team meetings to sustain proposed process changes.  And at each follow up meeting the team will adhere to the Kaizen philosophy of continual change by reviewing the process for areas of improvement.

Scheduled Follow up Meetings:

For additional information on Lean Management in the government sector, please visit the State of Iowa’s Office of Lean Enterprise (

If you have any questions, please contact Cole Anderson at 307-777-3776 or by email at