For Immediate Release
Milwaukee, Wis., March 2, 2017 — Only 8 percent of government workers say the U.S. federal government is running very efficiently, adding that shifting priorities and fears of job loss pose major obstacles to making improvements, according to a new survey by ASQ — the leading global authority on quality.
In January, ASQ surveyed its members and customers who work in a diverse range of government sectors including defense, health care, military, transportation, finance and agriculture.
Thirty-one percent of those surveyed said the biggest challenge to implementing quality improvement methods in the federal government is the shifting of strategies, goals, and priorities. According to the results:
“The federal government has a great opportunity with the application of quality tools reduce waste and, as a direct result, decrease the burden on the taxpayers,” said Mark Abrams, chair of ASQ’s Government Division. “Quality tools have been proven successful in a variety of sectors including manufacturing and health care, and can be used at all levels of government to increase operational efficiencies and improve taxpayer experiences.”
In addition to noting challenges with the federal government’s structure, survey participants ranked quality improvement tools they see as having the biggest potential for reducing federal waste.
Seventy-six percent of respondents said lean would provide the greatest benefit to increasing efficiency, followed by Lean Six Sigma at 71 percent and Six Sigma at 48 percent.
Quality tools such as Lean Six Sigma have been highlighted by past U.S. presidential candidates as an available tool for reducing waste and improving efficiency in federal government. Of the government workers surveyed, 42 percent have implemented Lean Six Sigma in their organization, and of these 42 percent, more than 86 percent said it’s been somewhat, very or extremely efficient.
Federal Government Agencies That Need the Most Help
In addition to the tools respondents say can best help the federal government, those surveyed offered opinions as to which areas need the most attention from quality.
According to the survey, 58 percent of respondents ranked infrastructure as the area federal government could most benefit from reducing waste and cutting costs. Furthermore, 55 percent of respondents say Health and Human Services and National Defense would best benefit from quality tools, followed by Immigrations and Customs at 54 percent, and Homeland Security at 53 percent.
First Steps in Ensuring Success with Quality Methods
There were several ways the government can effectively implement quality tools like lean and Six Sigma to improve efficiency, according to respondents. Possible first steps suggested by the respondents include:
ASQ is a global community of people dedicated to quality who share the ideas and tools that make our world work better. With millions of individual and organizational members of the community in 150 countries, ASQ has the reputation and reach to bring together the diverse quality champions who are transforming the world’s corporations, organizations and communities to meet tomorrow’s critical challenges. ASQ is headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis., with national service centers in China, India and Mexico. Learn more about ASQ’s members, mission, technologies and training at www.asq.org.