April 7, 2016
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces New York State's Lean Initiative Wins Citizens Budget Commission's Prize For Public Service Innovation

Governor Cuomo Announces New York State's Lean Initiative Wins Citizens Budget Commission's Prize For Public Service Innovation

CBC Prize is Awarded Annually to Recognize Successful Innovations in the Delivery of Public Services

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that New York State’s Lean Initiative received the 2016 Citizens Budget Commission’s Prize for Public Service Innovation. The Lean Initiative is an innovative public-private partnership designed to make government more efficient and responsive, which has had widespread impact since its inception in late 2013. The CBC Prize is awarded annually – in alternating years to either a New York State or a New York City agency – to recognize and promote successful innovations in the delivery of public services. The Prize will be presented at the CBC Annual Dinner on Thursday, April 7th.

“Our administration is delivering on the promise to improve government service and reduce costs for taxpayers,” said Governor Cuomo. “We have raised the bar for bringing a private sector mentality to public sector services, and I applaud the thousands of state workers who have helped us build a stronger, more efficient and more effective New York State.”

Lean is a process improvement tool inspired by private-sector manufacturers to streamline their operations. Originally made popular by Toyota, today almost every Fortune 100 company has a Lean or Lean Six Sigma program. Governor Cuomo implemented the program in New York State 2013 at the suggestion of his Spending and Government Efficiency (SAGE) Commission. Lean engages frontline state workers to improve their own processes to remove unnecessary steps and streamline government services, instead of using expensive outside consultants.

CBC President Carol Kellermann said, "New York State deserves this recognition for embracing and spreading its Lean Initiative. Lean has yielded significant efficiencies and service improvements that benefit taxpayers, and it holds even greater promise for further expansion by State government of these impactful management techniques."

New York State Lean Initiative:

Since the program’s launch in 2013, New York has become a leader and innovator in adapting and applying Lean principles to government activities. Lean has facilitated improved performance in State agencies despite a one-percent decrease in the State workforce. It has helped keep average spending growth in agency operations to one-percent annually and has helped achieve the Governor’s spending growth cap below two-percent each year. In 2013, the state conducted ten pilot projects using Lean. Today the program includes almost 400 projects in 38 agencies with over 8,500 state workers participating.

Lean projects are concentrated in state agencies and processes with a focus on one or more of three common themes. Many projects focus on agencies and processes with the greatest interaction with the public.

  • Since the initiative’s implementation, the Department of Motor Vehicles reduced the average in-office wait time to register a vehicle acquired through a casual sale from 60 minutes to 39 minutes and, in select pilot offices, to obtain a driver’s permit from 172 minutes to 45.
  • Lean has also contributed to DMV reducing office wait times by over 50 percent on average.

Lean projects have helped to streamline and accelerate the licensing, permitting, and registration of New York State’s two million businesses and 800,000 individually licensed practitioners. These functions, which cross multiple agencies, have had their cycle time cut by about half on average.

  • The Department of State has reduced the processing time to license real estate brokers and agents from 20 days to 4 days.
  • The Department of Health has reduced the time for a healthcare provider to obtain approval for a new facility. The time needed to process a certificate of need has fallen from a median of 157 days to 100; an operating certificate from an average of 137 days to 31.

Lean has increased the general responsiveness to the public for certain acutely needed government services including processing of benefit claims, scheduling hearings, and investigating alleged wrongdoing.

  • The Department of Labor has reduced its backlog of unemployment insurance break in claims requests by 77-percent and doubled productivity, shortening the time from request to reinstatement from 42 days to below 10.

A key element of the program has been to leverage pro bono support from world-class corporate partners, including Toyota, Xerox, and GE, which have contributed their own Lean experts to train, coach, and mentor New York State workers. Improvements are developed during concentrated workshops where line-level employees redesign a process.

Gregory North, Chief Process Officer, Xerox Corporation, said, “From the beginning, agency leadership and staff partners were eager to embrace Lean. The goal of Lean is to improve the process so that the state is delivering better service to its citizens. Working together, we were able to do just that.”

Jamie Bonini, Vice President, Toyota Production System Support Center (TSSC) said, “New York State has quickly become a leader in inspiring a culture of continuous improvement, with employees applying new thinking to better serve the people of New York.”

The State is now exploring the next frontier of its Lean program, including the potential to pilot Lean with other state entities, local governments, and other funding recipients (similar to how Toyota and GE work with customers and suppliers to streamline their own operations).

Contact the Governor's Press Office

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