Hope for Lean at Local Government Levels

A posting on the Evolving Excellence blog titled Putting Perfume on a Pig paints a grim picture how a panel of some of the so-called best minds brought together by the U.S. Department of Commerce think of U.S. manufacturing. Making things is out, thinking about things to make is in – according to Bill Waddell’s summary of the reports and proceedings of The National Summit on Competitiveness. Who needs coffee when you can wake up to news like this?
Based on information in this article the kaizen kudos we gave Connecticut Senator Lieberman have been suspended until further notice.
Speaking of Connecticut, do the states have any more clue than the federal government about the importance of manufacturing in general and Lean manufacturing in particular? Connecticut has been a hub of Lean activity and there are many manufacturers in that state who were early adopters and remain leaders in kaizen. There are plenty of Lean manufacturing successes in that state, and funds are being made available to further promote manufacturing and Lean in the Nutmeg State.
Going from federal to state was an improvement, so how about local government? The city of Jacksonville, Florida recently brought in Lean icon Dr. James Womack for their Regional Workforce Summit according to this article. Fear China and get Lean or else, fix problems rather than make workarounds – seemed to be the message from Dr. Womack.
It’s no surprise that the government that is closest to the gemba – the citizens in the community they serve – has more sense about the importance of Lean manufacturing for the people in their community. It seems the further away leadership is from the the gemba – the place you add value – the less you are able to make wise and sensible policy. This is true in government as well as manufacturing.