Carson City government step: Lean into Kaizen

Kaizen is coming to Carson City.

Kaizen is a system of continuous improvement embedded in the Lean management efficiency city operations, after training, City Manager Nick Marano wants. Business Development Manager Michael Salogga will serve as program coordinator and Rishi Malhotra, a Moss Adams LLC representative with pertinent experience, will oversee the program to achieve operational changes in city government.

Moss Adams is the city’s internal auditing consultant. Malhotra has 18 years experience as a program leader in such Lean and Six Sigma certification efforts, according to Moss Adams.

Salogga said Friday the goal is to figure out customer-centric and more efficient operations at the departmental level and do it with respect for city employees, obtaining buy-in from those workers. The bottom line?

“Make the staff more efficient, so we can be more productive down the line,” Salogga said.

Kaizen, a key part of the program, is a Japanese word for a system created after World War II that basically means continuous improvement, but which actually comes from two words: Kai, meaning change, and Zen, meaning for the better.

Malhotra, with his nearly two decades of experience in strategic and tactical LEAN, Six Sigma, operations, consulting and manufacturing leadership, also holds an MBA in finance, a master’s in industrial engineering and a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering. He’s a certified Six Sigma black belt.

The current phase calls for Kaizen events aimed at bringing “return on investment” after training of department leaders and key personnel in the methodology. A future phase envisions developing a Carson City Green Belt certification program and training the same department leaders to achieve such certification.

Lean provides an opportunity of a “war on waste,” according to Malhotra’s pre-program materials, and the Six Sigma aspect incorporates a “war on variation” to keep small but progressive improvements moving forward.

Examples of city operations that may be ripe for change shown in Malhotra’s materials included city payroll processes, the accounts payable process, the contracts process and online functionality offered for the community.

The program, costing $50,000, wasn’t met with enthusiasm by everyone on the Board of Supervisors when it was approved 4-1 at mid-month. Supervisor Jim Shirk cast the dissenting vote. He has said his objection is “due to the fact that other similar programs have not been completed, and those that have been completed never achieved the goals...”

Salogga, meanwhile, indicated the customer-oriented approach and steps toward efficient operations will pay off for residents and the community. He said direction of the program, now in its infancy here, will take on additional focus after a city government strategic planning session the afternoon of Feb. 5, which will be the next Board of Supervisors meeting date.


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