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May 20, 2019  |  

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Come into the 21st Century

Published April 24, 2019

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The Town of Clinton, including the schools, can no longer continue to conduct business as usual: continually raising taxes and expecting taxpayers, the customers, to absorb the cost and like any other business, expecting to remain competitive with other towns, keep its customers, and have a viable business.

The town must come into the 21st century as many other states, cities, and towns have. It must implement techniques long used in private industry like continuous improvement that is focused on effectiveness and efficiency, doing more with less. By improving the operating system—the configuration of assets, material resources, and staff—a continuous improvement approach can cut costs dramatically, typically by 15 to 30 percent. Continuous improvement aims to optimize costs, quality, and customer service continuously. It does so by engaging and equipping employees (a key ingredient) to focus on creating and delivering value in the eyes of the customer and eliminating whatever doesn’t contribute to this goal, anything non-value-added.

The town must also look to partner with local business leaders who have improved their own companies and draw from those leaders’ expertise.

The other key ingredient central to continuous improvement is culture. Essential to a culture of continuous improvement is recognizing that what you’ve done in the past guarantees nothing for the future in a rapidly changing environment.

It’s proven it works. Denver, Colorado created projects that have saved the city $15 million. The City of El Paso saved millions using Lean Sigma Six. Staff in Iredell-Statesville Schools in North Carolina have streamlined processes, saved hundreds of thousands of dollars, and helped students achieve more in the classroom than ever before.

I encourage your readers to vote “No” on May 8.

Robert Werner
Clinton

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