Every couple of years since he took office, Attorney General Rob McKenna invites AGO staff to share their ideas on how to improve the office. He conducted the first round of Speak-Ups! in 2005 before I joined the office then developed teams to address the ideas and bring them to fruition. The next round of Speak-Ups! occurred in Fall 2006 and we held a third round in Spring 2009. Each Speak-up! is different, designed to address current challenges.
In 2009, we asked staff to help us identify ways to reduce costs within the office. Today we reported out how much money we saved by eliminating things like refreshments at meetings and travel reimbursement for taking your own car when a state car was available. Through these small changes and larger cuts, like reducing the total number of staff in our office, the AG’s office has reduced its budget by roughly $10 million and our level of staffing is lower than when Attorney General McKenna took office.
At this round of Speak-ups!, we’re addressing the challenge of continuing our high level of service to our clients, to the public and to each other with fewer and fewer staff by reviewing office processes and employing LEAN governing principles. It can be as easy as modifying your file processes or more difficult like developing a new program to automate our multiple leave and timekeeping processes.
Roughly 250 assistant attorneys general and professional staff today attended one of two Speak-ups! in Olympia and Tumwater, sharing great ideas to streamline the day-to-day work of our office, reduce time and costs and increase productivity. We have several Speak-ups! to go, then we’ll work together to develop teams to bring these ideas to life.
Has anyone else employed LEAN processes in their workplace?