Conference News – Canadian Lean Summit, Innovation and Continuous Improvement

From April 23 to 25th, 2018 I had the opportunity to attend and speak at the 2018 Canadian Public Sector Lean Summit. Hosted by the City of Fredericton, it is now it’s in its third year, drawing mainly public sector Lean Six Sigma (LSS) organizational practitioners such as Municipalities, Police, and Provincial and Federal government with over 350 attendees. While Six Sigma and Lean have been around since the 1980s and is widely used in private sector, the summit focuses on use of the methodology in public sector organizations to eliminate waste and create more efficient and effective services. The City of Fredericton has been on an LSS journey since 2010 with over 300 staff engaged in projects and $10.2 million dollars in tangible savings to date. From case studies to in-depth focus on specific use of tools in the methodology, the Summit allows you to see how Lean Six Sigma is being used across Canada.

As a LSS practitioner and my third year attending the Summit, the opportunity to share the success of applying the methodology at Waterloo Regional Police Service was eye opening. I was able to share the success we had with LSS in our Records area with our over 3 month backlog in dictation of officer reports. We applied LSS to this problem which allowed us to find the root cause, create a new process, pilot, implement and track our progress. Since 2016, we have maintained this process and met our goal of processing reports within 24 hours. The efficiencies we gained offered time savings, more real time information and re-allocation of staff time in the Records branch to focus on other work.

The conference was an opportunity to network and bring back more great ideas on how to effectively use the methodology and keep the continuous improvement culture going. While LSS is relatively new in the policing sector, the return on investment from efficiencies gained is high. The conference featured a variety of topics in breakout sessions to suit those beginning their LSS journey to more advanced use of the methodology including:

  • Use of daily management boards,
  • 6S (Sort, Set in order, Shine, Standardize, Sustain, Safety)
  • Change management,
  • Application of LSS in the House of Commons,
  • Leveraging technology, and
  • Staffing to demand to engage your employees.

In a time where many Police Services are being forced to do more with less and with Bill 175 being passed in Ontario, policing services are on the brink of change with regards to service delivery. We need to start becoming more innovative and efficient with the resources we have to maximize how we do business. Seeing how places like the City of Fredericton began their LSS journey and their tangible results and increased efficiencies they have gained from applying this methodology is exciting. It inspired me to bring back some concepts and apply them there, such as a ‘30 day challenge’ to encourage our members to think “LEAN” and submit ideas for making our organization much more efficient.

The conference showed that the methodology works. What a great summit put on by the City of Fredericton. I look forward to next year!

Submitted by Jeannine Chapeskie,
Project Coordinator, Planning and Project Management Unit
Waterloo Regional Police Service