Iowa's Lean Initiatives
While charter agencies may have disappeared in Iowa, the spirit of charters lives on in the state's "lean" initiative. According to John Baldwin, head of...
While charter agencies may have disappeared in Iowa, the spirit of charters lives on in the state's "lean" initiative. According to John Baldwin, head of the Iowa Department of Corrections, "The charter initiative did give us a feeling of empowerment. And we made some good systemic changes." But where charters left off, lean has picked up, he says.
For example, as a result of a top-to-bottom efficiency review, his department consolidated all its systems for collecting and tracking child-support and restitution payments, increasing overall collections by more than 20 percent. The department has centralized all its records for tracking inmate credits, such as time earned for good behavior--making it much easier to track the tally for inmates as they move among state facilities. And the department has centralized its pharmaceutical services, which has put the department in a much better position to negotiate lower drug prices.
An even more fundamental "lean" initiative comes out of the state's procurement department. There, officials are encouraging agencies to become "certified centers of procurement excellence," a title conferred upon department personnel who have gone through training provided by the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing. Normally, other departments aren't allowed to negotiate contracts of more than $5,000 without the procurement agency's permission. Certified departments now have the procurement office's permission to negotiate agreements of up to $50,000.
"We've seen the time between when a request goes out to when a contract is signed shortened considerably," says Debbie O'Leary, head of the Department of Administrative Services' procurement office. "And this isn't just a process redesign that's helped streamline our workload. It's helped our client departments and their customers, as well."
Join the Discussion
After you comment, click Post. You can enter an anonymous Display Name or connect to a social profile.
LATEST MANAGEMENT & LABOR HEADLINES
Cities to Compete for $45 Million for Innovation Grants18 hours ago
The Obamacare Exchanges Don't Work So Well for Small Businesses11 hours ago
Illinois Governor Wants to Leave Ride-Share Regs Up to Cities16 hours ago
How Laid-Off Workers Are Recovering (or Not)1 day ago
Feds to Try Tying Work Requirements to Food Stamps1 day ago
Being Unemployed Makes It Harder to Get a Job. Can States Fix the Problem?1 day ago