Posted by: Knightbird | May 19, 2010

State of Alaska Using Lean Management

In February of 2007, I approached Commissioner Karleen Jackson of the State of Alaska’s Department of Health and Social Services about using Lean Management principles to help improve operations at the Alaska Office of Children’s Services. Widely acknowledged as a poorly managed department when known as the Division of Family and Youth Services (, OCS changed its name from the Division of Family and Youth Services (DFYS) sometime after this report. I followed up this discussion with a letter to the Commissioner on March 29, 2007.

After a couple of years, DHSS has finally started to use Lean Management. In the FY 2011 DHSS Budget Overview ( the Department revealed its use of Lean in response to federally mandated quality control requirements. I heard from current commissioner Bill Hogan that the Division of Public Assistance had conducted a Kaizen in FY 2010 with great results. He told me that the DPA increased the number of applications it could process by a substantial amount. I sent an email to the director of DPA’s Anchorage field office to try to confirm the improvements, but did not have a response.

The Division of Public Assistance has released a Request for Proposals (RFP 2010-0600-9339)Ā seeking a Lean Management consultant to assist it with implementation of a Lean Management Plan. I am grateful that the Division is interested in improvement, and wish it success. I am also hoping that they serve as a great example to the rest of Alaska State government.

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