For the first time in the history of Arizona government, we’re adopting an intentional management system to govern how we do our agencies’ vital mission work. The Arizona Management System is based on Lean principles, which have proven successful over many years in a host of industry sectors.
As you’ll see, Lean is not separate from our day-to-day work but integral to it; in short, Lean is how we fulfill our mission today. You can expect a lot of training and tools to be offered as part of Arizona’s Lean deployment, but for now, let’s review some Lean history.
The roots of Lean can be found in principles of continuous improvement that date back more than 100 years, when a man like Henry Ford used them to streamline and build efficiency into the automobile mass assembly line.
Later, in the last half of the 20th century, Lean became a touchstone in manufacturing process improvements all over the world, beginning most notably in Japan. A leader of Toyota, Taiichi Ohno, came to the U.S. and studied a variety of American operations, from grocery stores to auto assembly plants and even auto racing pit stops.
When he returned to Japan, Mr. Ohno combined the principles and techniques gleaned from his travels with the culture of respect and humble inquiry already established at Toyota. The result was the Toyota Production System, which we in the United States have come to know as Lean.
While Lean began in manufacturing, in the past 20 years or so it has expanded to encompass all sectors of the economy, including government. Arizona is one of many states that has introduced Lean into its culture and operations. But we are the only state thus far to deploy an intentional management system based on Lean across the entire State enterprise.
We’ve already begun seeing significant results in many agencies. For example, in 2015, the collective efforts of 23 agencies in over 40 projects reduced time to issue licenses and permits by about 65%, delivering benefit to a number of sectors across Arizona’s economy.
Our Lean journey has only just begun but the road ahead is clear as agencies align to deliver results on the state’s most pressing priorities in education, the economy, health and safety, and agency performance.