Thingish Things

Six Sigma Goes Federal

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Jun• 13•11

Erie County Executive Chris Collins

Brash and effective Erie County Executive (NY) Chris Collins (R) is thought to be the first political executive in the U.S. to employ the business management system Lean Six Sigma in government.  Six Sigma is a creation of Motorola, but it was famously implemented at General Electric some years ago, and it is credited with saving the company billions of dollars in losses, indeed, saving GE itself.

But The New Republic writes today that Lean Six Sigma is catching on within the GOP.  Former Minnesota Governor and 2012 presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty is extolling its benefits on the campaign trail and promising to apply them to the federal budget.

Collins, a former business executive, inherited a mess in Erie, which includes Western New York’s largest city, Buffalo.  Even detractors of Collins would admit that he has pared spending and stabilized the budget in that struggling area more than anyone thought possible.

It is good that Lean Six Sigma is getting a look in presidential politics.  All ideas should be on the table in tackling the budget beast in our nation’s capitol.  But it’s also good because Collins’s accomplishments may finally be recognized beyond Erie’s borders, and they deserve to be.

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  1. Your Friend says:

    In Japanese the word “kaizen” means continuous improvement. It’s an excellent life strategy, as well as a way to improve business processes and it’s the heart and sould of six sigma. But as reflected in the corporate references you make above, it’s employed by manufacturing companies. Last time I checked, government doesn’t make things. I’m sure you could convicne a liberal like me that they should, but until that time, this is window dressing.

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