Newt Gingrich Proposes ‘Lean Six Sigma’ Method to Cut Government Waste

COMMENTARY | Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich went to the Heritage Foundation and did what he does best, delivering a speech filled with ideas about how to reform government. He championed implementing Lean Six Sigma to eliminate government waste, according to Politico.

According to EHow Money, Lean Six Sigma is a management method that combines the Lean manufacturing business methodology and the Six Sigma business management methodology.

Lean manufacturing attempts to increase productivity and decrease inventory on hand. Keeping inventory of things like spare parts or office supplies costs money. The idea is to use “Just-In-Time” methods of acquiring supplies, using information technology and supply chain management techniques to deliver inventory to be used in manufacturing only when it is needed.

Six Sigma uses mathematical and statistical analysis to identify and eliminate manufacturing defects. It was originally used by Motorola in the 1980s to improve manufacturing, but has since been applied to all sorts of business processes.

Gingrich, who is a fan of modern management techniques, suggests that applying Lean Six Sigma to the federal government would eliminate at least $3 trillion of government waste over the 10 years. He favors adopting such a method rather than be locked into the recommendations of the so-called super committee that has been formed by the debt ceiling agreement, which he regards as “stupid.”

Gingrich also suggested repealing the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act and investing in Alzheimer’s research. He regards Dodd-Frank as a drag on economic growth. Finding effective treatments for Alzheimer’s would reduce health care costs and improve the quality of life for millions of elderly Americans. Gingrich also proposed expanding domestic oil and gas exploration, echoing claims by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin that such a move would spur economic growth and job creation.

Gingrich will likely not be elected president of the United States. The financial and management woes of his campaign, not to mention his standing in the polls, argues against that. But he remains, as he has for over 30 years of public service, an imaginative, outside-the-box thinker when it comes to public policy. He is therefore a man who needs listening to, if not always with complete agreement.

Sources: Newt Gingrich: Nix supercommittee for Lean Six Sigma, Kendra Marr, Politico, August 16, 2011

Define Lean Six Sigma, Dwight Chestnut, EHow Money

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