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    imagePhotos of Value stream Workshops 

    Welcome to the City of Grand Rapids’ Lean Thinking website. The City’s Lean Team is proud to share with you the results City staff are achieving through our Lean Thinking Initiative.

    Our Lean journey began in 2005 when the Mayor's Urban Development Advisors detailed their lean implementation experience and results to the City Commission. Lean techniques have produced impressive results in manufacturing environments, and they advised that implementation of Lean in the City organization could enable City staff to take time, steps and rework out of critical processes all with an eye to improving quality, reducing costs, improving the customer experience and approaching sustainability one value stream (process) at a time. They also noted that Lean requires staff buy-in and a commitment to staff from the organization.

    In response, the City contracted with Lean Concepts, LLC to orient a leadership team of City staff, to conduct workshops and to train in-house facilitators all for the purpose of enabling the leadership team to apply the Lean concept throughout the organization.

    The City Manager appointed a Lean Team, made up of individuals from throughout the organization to guide this work; and the Lean Team determined, early on, that it was important to indicate to staff that the major focus of Lean Thinking is the saving of time and money through redesign of business processes and performance improvement, not a further reduction in personnel.

    The essence of Lean Thinking is to engage staff members responsible for the work in redesigning it, keeping in mind the need to provide the best possible product or service to our customers. And, at the City, Lean Thinking has also become a critical way of coping with the reduction in staff which has taken place over the past several years.

    Staff have learned that by using Lean techniques, they can consolidate operations; eliminate wasted time, effort and supplies; and streamline processes allowing them to still provide the quality of service our customers want and deserve—in less time and with less effort and frustration. As value streams are improved, time that is saved can then be assigned to other valuable work in a strategic effort to meet service demands.

    Please browse our website. The Lean Team is proud of the results produced by staff to date and think you will be too.



    Lean Thinking Initiative
    City of Grand Rapids
    300 Monroe Avenue NW, Room 660
    Grand Rapids, MI  49503

    P:  (616) 456-3318
    F:  (616) 456-3111