Transforming Local Government with Quality Principles

Article

Chiat, William S.   (1997, ASQ)   City of Oxnard, CA

Annual Quality Congress, Orlando, FL    Vol. 51    No. 0
QICID: 10624    May 1997    pp. 788-799
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Article Abstract

Quality principles in the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award have structured the transformation of municipal government in Oxnard, CA. The city is in the third year of a six-year implementation. In year one, key principles included employee participation, involvement, and leadership, based on the belief that every employee should be a leader and a decision maker. Employees developed their skills through a variety of learning experiences, including a 72-hour curriculum at the city's own corporate university. During the first year, this customer-driven culture transformed 13 traditional city departments into 90 program teams. In year two, guiding principles included continuous improvement linked to strategic business planning; management by fact, as structured in a seven-step plan-do-check-act cycle; partnership development between the city and other organizations; and cross functional teams. In the current year, Oxnard is focusing on quality that is designed into processes and on looking at long-range performance. Among the many behavioral indicators of Oxnard's success are increases in demand for training and for team facilitators. Measurable results during the first three years include crime reduction; equipment service hourly rate decreases; and opening of two new parks without increasing the maintenance budget. Lessons learned emphasize the importance of communication, teamwork, persistence, and involvement.

Keywords

Cultural change,Breakthrough improvement,Case study,Local government,Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (MBNQA),Transformation


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