The Vermont Wetlands Program (WP) is responsible for identifying and protecting wetlands and the functions and values they provide. The goal of the Wetlands Program is to achieve no net loss of significant wetlands or wetland functions through regulatory and non-regulatory means. This goal is mainly achieved by assisting the Vermont public and professional community in avoiding impacts to wetlands and wetland buffers through site visits and personal contact with District Wetland Ecologists.
In order to assist the WP in efficiently using its resources and meeting its goals and objectives, the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), with support from the Legislature, recently embarked on a “Lean” initiative. Lean is a system of continuous improvement with the focus on decreasing waste and increasing efficiency to grow the capabilities and services of an organization. The Lean process was initially developed for the manufacturing sector (e.g. Toyota), but has been also used in state government with great success (e.g. Connecticut).
DEC has hired a consulting group called Leanovations to train our management team and staff on Lean principles. So far, more than a dozen DEC staff members have been trained as Lean Leaders to run Lean events. These are week-long events that examine a current government process and determine how and where improvements can be made. This week DEC has kicked off three Kaizen events; one of which is focused on project management in the Wetlands Program.
We have high hopes for the wetlands Lean team this week in identifying efficiencies for use by wetlands staff as they access and manage wetland program data and project management. Stay tuned for a follow-up post on the outcome of this Lean week.