Lean Six Sigma: City of Tyler celebrates over $5 million in savings with program

Published on Wednesday, 2 April 2014 23:41 - Written by Kelly Gooch kgooch@tylerpaper.com

The city of Tyler on Wednesday celebrated more than $5 million in savings through the Lean Six Sigma Program.

Tyler Senior Public Relations Specialist Serena Butcher said the idea behind Lean Six Sigma is to identify waste and variation, so the city can save time and money and overall be more efficient.

The end result, she said, is better customer service.

Various booths were set up at the Tyler Rose Garden Center Wednesday morning with information on Lean Six Sigma projects, which are done “by city employees trained in the methodology.” The program launched in 2009.

Guillermo Garcia, director of innovation for the city of Tyler, said, “It seems just like yesterday” that Lean Six Sigma started.

“We celebrated $2 million (in) savings a couple years ago, and now we’re here today with $5 million dollars,” he said Wednesday, adding that attendees could talk to the individuals who have worked on the Lean Six Sigma projects.

“The $5 million that we have in savings is really because of all their hard work.”

Mayor Barbara Bass also addressed attendees, saying, “In five short years, we’ve changed the culture of how we look at our jobs at city hall.”

“For whichever department you’re in, you’re … looking with new eyes on how to improve your departments, and your friends from other departments are stepping up and helping you with that process.”

“As I walk around the room and I hear your stories, I’m saying, ‘Some of these things I didn’t even know needed the process done, but others you just wonder why we had not done them,’ and for all of them they make a huge difference. They improve the efficiency of your day-to-day jobs and the effectiveness of how we are being good stewards of those taxpayer dollars and all the dollars that we’re entrusted with as a community. You’ve just made a huge impact on this community, and I don’t think we should take that lightly.”

She also encouraged them “to keep up the good work.”

City Manager Mark McDaniel said 35 projects are in the works, at least 92 projects have been completed, and there are more than $5 million in savings.

However, he said, he is more impressed with the amount of time that has been saved — more than 36,920 hours.

“That’s the equivalent of over 17 positions that we basically repurposed,” he added.

McDaniel said what he enjoys the most is being able to talk to individuals about what they’ve done and their impact.

Lynn Tomaszewski, CEO, Quality Texas Foundation, said, “Today is truly all about you and what you’ve done and what you’ve accomplished individually, as teams in your projects and then overall the impact on the city.”

Tyler Purchasing Manager Sherry Pettit said the inventory project is likely the best one she’s had so far, and is one she’s enjoyed.

The project, she said, involved developing and implementing inventory in the Water Utilities Service Center meter shop.

Before, inventory wasn’t being done there, she said.

“It was kind of a mess. We really didn’t know what was in there or anything,” Ms. Pettit said.

“So … we went in and cleaned it all up.”

Rachel Tiger, billing specialist in the city’s Water Business Office, said she’s proud of her projects.

She said there were water meters that stopped registering, so they needed to get more information.

“They weren’t showing any usage, so we had to find the ones that were not showing any usage to see if they were working properly or not,” Ms. Tiger said.

She said of Wednesday’s celebration, “It’s actually kind of cool that we’ve made the $5 million mark. I came … when it was $2 million, so it’s kind of interesting to see … the change … It’s kind of remarkable.”

Cammie Wymore, legal assistant in the City Attorney’s Office, said her project involved redoing the electronic and hard copy file systems in the legal office.

“It was taking us on average about 25 minutes to find our documents and everything, and after our project it saved about $10,000 in salary costs and got it down to four minutes,” Ms. Wymore said.

She said she closed her project earlier this week, so it’s exciting to have it completed and have the opportunity to show people.