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An Interview with ACMA Member and Streamline Author Richard Baron
Streamline: One City Manager's Breakthrough Journey to Government Efficiency with Lean and Six Sigma is a new business novel designed to improve government efficiency.

City and county managers across the country are being told more than ever before, to increase efficiency without the help of additional money or staff.

ACMA President Nicole Lance sat down to interview Richard Baron, Process & Project Coordinator for Coconino County, Arizona, about how his novel Streamline offers a solution for that dilemma.

Let's say an organization has no money for additional processes or new people-but it must improve efficiency, and fast. How can Streamline help?
"Streamline helps by offering easy-to-follow, step-by-step training in Lean and Six Sigma. Lean has been proven to help employees complete their tasks with the least amount of time and effort.

We all come to work wanting to do our job, but too often we become frustrated by the slow and cumbersome processes we use day-in and day-out. Lean analyzes a process, spots inefficiencies, and removes those obstacles. The end result is that citizens are happy and employees feel inspired, not frustrated."

Why did you decide to write the book?
"I wrote it to teach others in government how to apply Lean and Six Sigma, because I saw problems there that couldn't be solved any other way. This story is drawn from real-life material I drew up for the Lean Government Committee I started at Coconino County.

Lean improves our department's time-and-cost savings. It's done the same for departments and organizations around the country. I realized that by incorporating Lean and Six Sigma into a story, I could show, rather than tell, how to apply Lean to any department. A lot of books on the market explain why Lean is important, but few actually provide the step-by-step approach on how to accomplish it. That's where Streamline comes in.

Streamline shows you how to use all of the Lean and Six Sigma concepts -the project charter, value-stream mapping, process-flow mapping, brainstorming, process optimization, DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control)-everything you need to make Lean working for you."

What's the story about?
"The story opens with city manager Sam McConnell getting an ultimatum from his city council: Improve services in 90 days, or you're out. Sam realizes it's the internal processes used by his city that are causing delays and poor customer service.

The city budget is flat, and Sam cannot add additional staff. So he asks Lean Six Sigma expert Karen Spencer to teach a team of managers how to apply Lean and Six Sigma.

Readers follow along with these easy-to-follow training sessions as if they're in the room with these characters. They learn how to Lean-out their own work processes. The book is a novel, but it portrays real-life government characters and situations."

Who needs to read Streamline?
"Streamline is for managers who want to offer improved government services in less time-with no new hires. It's also for Lean and Six Sigma practitioners who need an inexpensive way to train the people in their organization. And it's for the frustrated workers who keep thinking 'there must be a better way.'

This is a cost-effective approach to teaching government employees a basic understanding of Lean and Six Sigma concepts. It's an excellent starting point for teams to begin developing a culture of challenging the status quo."

What if someone isn't facing a crisis in their government department? Why should they be interested in efficiency?
"Diminishing resources and bureaucracy are a sad reality in government now. It affects everyone sooner or later. No one should go to work every day feeling frustrated and angry about how inefficiently things work in their department.

Streamline is about providing quality services at the most cost-efficient manner, while optimizing outcomes. When you optimize processes, you can offer higher quality services in a shorter time frame. That means happy citizens, motivated employees-and a council that sees what a great job you're doing."

For more information, and to purchase the book, click here.

About Richard Baron
Richard Baron is an Information Technology Process & Project Coordinator for Coconino County in Arizona, where he leads the process improvement efforts for the county, and started the Lean Government committee. Previously, he was a consultant for the Arizona Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a nationwide organization providing Lean consultation to manufacturers.

Richard holds a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt from Acuity Institute, a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering, a Master's in International Management from Thunderbird School of Global Management, and a Master's in Business Administration from Arizona State University.

Richard is an active member of organizations including the Alliance for Innovation, Arizona City/County Management Association, International City/County Management Association, Arizona Association of Counties, the National Association of Counties and the National Association of County Administrators.

His recorded seminars on Lean and Six Sigma are available through the Alliance for Innovation at
Arizona City/County Management Association
1820 W. Washington Street, Phoenix, AZ 85007   •   Phone: (602) 258-5786   •   Fax: (602) 253-3874   •