Delays for customer service requests dropped 80% following a two-day Kaizen event I facilitated with a major state agency. I was impressed by the support and involvement from very senior leaders in the administration who personally offered their time and commitment to make the project happen, right down to the front-line staff who exhibited a real can-do attitude.
For me, it was an exciting opportunity to help launch a new, multi-agency New York State efficiency effort. In part, helping out this way is what GE employees do: each year we volunteer 1.3 million hours in our communities. Moreover, this type of service has been central to my career. In my 28 years with GE, I’ve helped local school systems, chambers of commerce, community colleges, and other non-profit organizations to improve their operations.
When you provide pro bono services, you want the team you’re working with to be as committed as you are. The New York State team leaders made my job easy by gathering all the data needed in advance and completing process maps of the key functions. During the Kaizen event, the participants were open to new ideas and quickly implemented the changes required to reduce customer lead times. The support provided by the IT team was invaluable in quickly implementing systems changes, as well as moving and installing computer hardware.
After the Kaizen event, I shared the great experience that I had with some of the GE Lean Leaders in the Capital District. I have enlisted the help of three of my GE colleagues, Michael Noble-Jack and Jeff Skinkle of GE Power & Water, and Steve Kearney of GE Healthcare, to help facilitate future Kaizen events and support the expansion of the effort in 2014. They are all as excited as I am to share our expertise to help New York State and our local communities.