Lean Leader Associates

If the definition of "Lean Leader" describes you, please contact us about being a contributer to our blog and being added to our website...not only does it help others learn from your example, there is also no fee.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Starting Your Lean Six Sigma Program? - Try Email

Not long ago, I was emailed and asked a few questions by an agency Captain about Lean Six Sigma. Here is a brief article that highlights a few of his questions.


Hello Billy,

This is a very interesting concept you have implemented at your department. I had just placed the question to may group when I found you on Linkedin. How similar is this mythology to problem-oriented policing? What was the learning curve for the officers when you first established this program? How does a agency get started in a program of this nature? Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Best Regards,


Hi Captain,
It is truly a pleasure when we hear of other agencies looking to start down the LEAN road. I will do my best to answer your questions, but I believe it is fair to say that every agency, or company, is unique. That being said, police tend to be police minded wherever they go. My experience is that everything revolves back around to the belief system of the troops. If they trust the administration, they will believe in LEAN. If they believe it is in their best interest, they will believe in LEAN, etc., etc. It is also fair to say that it may come with a fair amount of resistance due to the poor execution of Total Quality Management (TQM), that was pushed in the nineties.

1) How similar is this mythology to problem-oriented policing?
Although Lean Six Sigma uses a problem solving model (DMAIC - define, measure, analyze, improve, control), similar to that used in problem oriented policing or community policing (SARA - scan, analyze, response, assess), the approach is somewhat different. Overall, our agency is tasked with building relationships with the community to determine root causes of crimes and the fear of, through the use of community partnerships and policing strategies. Lean Six SIgma is more of an internal process review geared towards making the way we do business better. I.e., process for filing cases, process for reducing overtime costs, saving fuel, transportation of prisoners, etc. It is geared arounf the 8 types of waste used for LEAN thinking, and the quality statndards contained within six sigma. So, they are similar in many ways, but different as well.

2) What was the learning curve for the officers when you first established this program?
The learning curve is relatively small. We have a 4 hour orientation that all employees reveive upon being hired. We have also made it a part of our leaderhsip development academy. The issue is not so much the learning curve of the material, but the sustainment of the mindset that goes back to the belief system that is in place...the culture. Will your officers believe this to be a fad? is it something they are being forced to do? Will leadership champion the movement? All are questions that will arise once you start down the path. We (JSO) are nowhere near where we want to be with LEAN. Basically, if we had a continuous improvement culture, we would not need a continuous improvement unit. This will most likely take several years.

3) How does a agency get started in a program of this nature?
I highly recommend searching for a consortioum similar the the Jacksonville Lean Consortium. If one is not available in your area, try searching for the local MEP (manufacturers entension partnership). Also, many times other portion of loval government have already started a similar program. For instance, our local Air National Guard base, and local electric and water utility have well designed programs in place with experts in the field of LEAN Six Sigma, just a field trip or phone call away. The EPA has also created an excellent guide for governement agecies. Here is their link.


In the end, all of this comes down to having a committed leader that is willing to champion the culture change. Without buy - in from the top, a successful program is highly unlikely.

Hope that is helpful,


About the Author: William "Billy" Wilkerson is a Police Sergeant with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office and 21 Year veteran with the Florida Air National Guard. He is currently assigned to Sheriff's Office Continuous Improvement Division and also supervises the Staff Inspections Unit. The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office has been using Lean Six Sigma to streamline many of its processes for the past several years to much success. Billy has also been assisting with the Florida Air National Guard's rollout of their CPI Program (Continuous Process Improvement). Billy can be found on LinkedIn @ http://www.linkedin.com/in/billywilkerson or by email at 7388wtw@gmail.com .

No comments:

Post a Comment