Lean and Six Sigma
I am a big fan of Lean thinking and Six Sigma. For those of you who don’t know what that means: Lean thinking is all about the elimination of waste in processes, and Six Sigma is all about eliminating variation in a process. Most people think Lean thinking and Six Sigma are only useful in manufacturing. In the last few years, however, Lean thinking and Six Sigma have been applied to the health care industry and office environments. Why did I want to write about this today? While on Twitter I found a great blog, in it the author talks about waste in government and why it is there. I thought the information was insightful.
When you think about it
I received an email a long time ago and it has been circulating for quite some time written about the number of people who make decisions about our national debt and taxes. He wrote that
If congress didn’t want us to be in debt then they would fix it.
If congress wanted a fair and equitable tax structure they would make one.
Congress are the ones that vote for things like this, not you and I but the members of congress.
It just brings home the point that one mans “pork spending” is another mans “investment”. It is okay to bring home federal money for projects as long as you are the only one getting it. Otherwise it is “waste” and “pork”.
In the blog I read he uses two good examples.
The post office – Running in the red, wants to do the right thing by closing under utilized offices and laying off employees. Will that happen? No, because people will complain to their congressman that “their” post office is important and should be kept open. The congressman wanting votes for the next election will agree and push to keep that one open… the problem is that will happen to all of the congressmen and none of the post offices will be closed. They will wheel and deal and ultimately not make the changes needed to put the postal service in the black.
The Military – For years the leaders of the military have been fighting to close bases and get rid of unwanted weapons programs. The problem – Jobs at home. If a congress person votes to close down a base then his opponent in the next election will use that against him/her saying that because of that vote people are out of work. The sad part is it would work.. People wouldn’t care that they were saving the country billions of dollars a year only that they lost their job….They will ask why “their” base got closed? Why didn’t someone else get screwed?
So there are my thoughts for today… We have big government because we want it. We don’t want to think as a country; we think locally. We neglect to think that there are millions of other people thinking locally… It all adds up.