Air Quality Division - New Source
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 http://www.epa.gov/lean/).
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.
Training Day - Day one of the Kaizen focused again on training, but with additional emphasis on relating the tools we learned to the process of removing non-value added time. Perhaps the most engaging tool the team used on the first day was the SIPOC (Suppliers, Inputs, Process, Outputs, and Customers) diagram. Addressing each of these five areas related to our business process, produced a visual of our items. By the end of the day, the team better understood the project scope and objectives, and though it wasn’t clear at the time, the team was ready to create the current-state business process map.
Day of Discovery - Day two focused on creating the current-state process map. The team drilled down to ground zero of the process and labored to capture each process step on paper. Through many “Gee that really belongs over there” moments, the team detailed the process steps such that the map covered the majority of the entire business process, but did not get lost in the endless number of exceptions. Once the process map was created the team began to analyze and measure each step in the process.
Do Day - Day three began the real nuts-and-bolts work of the Kaizen Event. During the Pre-Event training the team was told the Kaizen Breakthrough Methodology was biased toward action. By the end of the third day it was clear that biased really implied you should have a very good reason if you can’t change. Using the 5W’s (why, why, why, why, why?), the team modified, removed, condensed, and on rare occasion, added process steps to create a new future-state process map. In the Pre-Event meeting we were told that it was important to have the right people participate on the Kaizen Team. The work performed on Day three relied heavily on this truth. While the team broke off into several small groups to focus on specific tasks, the common limitation of each group’s effectiveness was the ability to dig down through information and misinformation to an answer.
Do, Re-Do, Document Day - Day four was a continuation of the work from Day three. Refinements were made to the future-state process map, based on the outcomes from the work performed by the small groups. Progress on the future-state map was checked against our goals and objectives to ensure progress in the right direction.
Day of Celebration - Day five concluded the event. At the end of the week during the report out presentation, the team participants presented the results of their in depth review as well as the new streamlined oil and gas minor source permitting process. The team participants also shared insight into the challenges and successes of undertaking a week-long review of key business processes.
Scheduled Follow up Meetings:
- 30 day – July 17, 2007
- 60 day – August 23, 2007 Presentation
- 90 day – September 2007
- 6 month – December 2007
- 1 year – June 2008
For additional information on Lean Management in the government sector, please visit the State of Iowa’s Office of Lean Enterprise (http://lean.iowa.gov/).
If you have any questions, please contact Cole Anderson at 307-777-3776 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.