One of my priorities as secretary is process improvement, looking at all CDFA operations for opportunities to increase efficiency and, ultimately, improve our service to the people of California. It’s a key provision in CDFA’s Strategic Plan, recognizing that we have business relationships with many of our stakeholders. Governor Brown also believes strongly in this approach, and that’s why his Office of Business and Economic Development (GoBiz) offered Lean-6 Sigma Training to several state departments, including CDFA. A good way to think about the focus of the training is to isolate the first word of its name, Lean.
Lean-6 Sigma has roots in the private sector, originating at Motorola and made famous by Jack Welch at General Electric, who integrated the training during the company’s restructuring in the 1990s. In order to receive certification, participants must complete projects that have vastly improved the efficiency of processes within their departments.
At CDFA, we have two stories to tell. In our Division of Animal Health and Food Safety Services, Director Dr. Annette Jones, Milk and Dairy Food Safety Branch Chief Dr. Stephen Beam, and analyst Kimberly McCarthy worked together to streamline the process by which local governments receive reimbursements for work at dairies performed on behalf of the State. As a result, counties get their money faster. In our Division of Measurement Standards, Director Kristin Macey, environmental scientist Kevin Schnepp and team applied Lean-6 Sigma techniques to reduce its average time to evaluate new and prototype weighing and measuring devices by nearly half, from 138 days to 70 days.
We hope this is just the beginning of our association with this excellent training program, as our efforts to improve efficiency are ongoing. My congratulations to the CDFA employees who are pioneers in that regard. They’re leading the way.