November, 2009 was a big month in the vibrant land of Gujarat, India. It was not only United States which was gearing up for Change but Government of Gujarat’s Education Department also decided to take a stride towards Change for Betterment. I would like to rephrase Neil Armstrong’s quote, which aptly fits in here,
‘One small step for Government, one giant leap for Society’
Education Department has decided to take up the mammoth task of shaking up the giant public sector with the help of Kaizen Concepts. The phase A of Kaizen Implementation Project was inaugurated in a festive ceremony at the GCERT Hall, Gandhinagar attended by an estimated 200 plus officers and bureaucrats. The function was presided by Hon. Minister of Education for State and Dr. Kirit Joshi, Chief Advisor to the Chief Minister of Gujarat. In some ways the inauguration signaled an immense shift in way of thinking of people and it is a paving stone for bringing change to the country’s course.
This endeavor is to support dedicated public servants increase the value of the work they perform and the services they provide. The mission / objective is to help them accomplish more and more with the limited resources they receive. The goal, to see them commit to a path of continuous improvement that will increase their value to society, is splendidly superb.
To spark and sustain Continuous Improvement Process in Public Sector, the employees were enlightened and sensitized to improve their departments by focusing on the following methods of improvement: the Kaizen way of Management, Deming’s Improvement management system, lean thinking, systems thinking, customer focus, process improvement, leadership, etc. This was achieved by Kaizen Champions Training of 2 weeks for 80 plus employees which resulted in Kaizen Champions who led the teams and project implementation from the front during the action phase of the project.
The entire continuous improvement journey in public sectors stands on ‘the 4P model’. The 4P framework for improvement in public sector has been specifically devised by Kaizen Institute to support and encourage public sectors for systematic and comprehensive change management and standardization. It incorporates;
i) Physical Workplace Improvement
ii) Process Improvement
iii) Policy Change
iv) People Involvement
The deployment of this framework has contributed to many of the improvements and successes in public sectors.
The above said framework was successfully made use of at 10 departments under the Secretariat of Education, Government of Gujarat. The pilot project explored the potential use of Kaizen methodology and Lean concepts to support evidence based application, and improve public sector delivery. Minimum, 2 Gemba for Five S and 2 processes for improvement per department were selected and develope d as models for horizontal deployment across the department. However the number exceeded for almost all the departments. For instance, the throughput time for annual grant disbursement process for government aided institutes was crashed to 45 days from 951 days. Similarly, one of the advance settlement process times was reduced to 15 days from 60 days. Several such processes were taken up at each department and improved with the help of Kaizen approach & lean measures. All the employees, approximately 1000 people, were involved in the process of building platform for change.
The ability to manage change-management processes depends on organizational culture and habits. This culture has to be molded in accordance with the continuous improvement process; in this perspective, the pilot project generated mental awareness and enthusiasm about the Kaizen Spirit. In order to look for problems and solutions for implementing process improvements, a balanced team of Kaizen consultants, with representatives from prior public sector projects, was deployed. This project acted as a medium for discussion of various enhancement possibilities and a framework to structure better processes and workplaces; an instrument to understand problem solving process and how to manage change in an efficient manner.
In a nutshell, the result of the four month long intervention – was charged up employees who are aware of ‘the War on Waste’, various improved processes and model workplaces.
Following aspects were considered throughout the project;
i) Processes achieve their intended results;
ii) Resources used are consistent;
iii) Processes and resources are protected from waste;
iv) Laws and regulations are followed; and
v) Reliable and timely information is obtained, maintained, reported and used for decision making.
I would take the liberty of calling these Kaizen implementation projects by Kaizen Institute India in private and public domain as phase II towards growth and development of India Inc., after the post liberalization decade. It can be said that KII is interested in more than the financial rewards of consulting people how to apply Kaizen principles to their work. KI consultants are committed to help clients improve the performance of their companies and agencies in the private sector. This enthusiasm and the values which are brought in through Kaizen are multiplied with people involvement. KII is interested in strengthening values, honing skills, and sharing new knowledge with each of its partners. The feeling is the same for Public Sector.
This is just the beginning of a journey towards newer and brighter dawn…We are on the threshold of embarking Phase B to continue the zeal of Kaizen Spirit and take it further to a New Zenith!!