By Alex Kowalski
PBN Staff Writer
PROVIDENCE – As a broader part of an effort to improve the state’s regulatory climate, the R.I. Department of Environmental Management has initiated “Lean” training in its programs with the help of Exceeda Consulting Inc.
DEM is currently undergoing the new regimen, it said, in an attempt to improve its customer satisfaction rates and make the department more efficient. DEM Director Janet Coit said that improving customer service to Rhode Island businesses is “a top goal.”
“As part of this effort, we are engaging DEM employees to identify and prioritize areas for improvement, and looking at both the quality of permit submissions and at DEM responsiveness,” said Coit in prepared remarks. “We are engaged in an ongoing effort to cut out unnecessary steps and increase efficiency.
“Our focus in implementing Lean is to use a proven approach to eliminate things that are wasteful and don’t provide meaningful value to our decision-making processes,” added Coit.
The Exceeda group, which was contracted to review three DEM programs, put the Office of Waste Management through the “Lean” rounds, completing its first review at the end of December 2012. According to DEM, the staff response has been enthusiastic.
DEM has also appointed Terrence Gray as its newest associate director for environmental protection. Gray has been a tenured DEM employee for 25 years, and previously served as assistant director for air, waste and compliance in 1999.
Also known as Kaizen, the “Lean” approach is being used to encourage employees to understand and reduce waste at the department level. When it succeeds, the training will serve as a means of improving the regulatory process within the DEM, according to a release.