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Everyday Lean: The DMV

As we continue our month-long challenge for examples of Everyday Lean, you still have plenty of chances to win. The best will win a free copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Lean. You can read previous Everyday Lean posts by following this link. Everyday Lean is how lean principles help make stuff if everyday life easier, simpler and more effective.

Here’s a submission on the Department of Motor Vehicles. Since it is brought up, I have another example from my DMV. As you go in there is a triage station. They determine if you’re there for something simple such as a driver’s license renewal or something else. They separate the flows so if you’re in the quick and easy line, you don’t have to wait on resources processing something that takes 30 minutes. As a result, if you’re there for something quick, you will actually get in and out fast. Imagine that! Here’s our reader’s submission:

While neither I, nor anyone else, who has ever had to get a driver’s license or plates for a vehicle would call the hold queues of a Motor Vehicle department “lean”, perhaps the state of Indiana may have a step in the direction leveling their demand. The state has staggered the due dates of license plates every two weeks based on the first two letters of the last name of the licensee. Instead of allowing typical behavior of waiting until the end of the month, they have subdivided the waiting to be due about every two weeks.

Here is more innovation from the DMV.

Have ideas of your own? Please submit them here.

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Jamie Flinchbaugh is a lean advisor, speaker, and author. In addition to co-founding the Lean Learning Center, he has helped build nearly 20 companies as either a co-founder, board member, advisor, or angel investor. These companies range from high-performance motorcycles to SaaS tools for continuous improvement. He has advised over 300 companies around the world in lean transformation, including Intel, Harley-Davidson, Crayola, BMW, and Amazon. Jamie co-authored the popular book The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Lean, and continues to share his experiences as a Contributing Editor forIndustryWeek and as a blogger at He holds degrees from Lehigh University, University of Michigan, and MIT, and continues to teach and mentor on campus. Jamie is best known for helping to transform how we think about lean from a tools-centric model to one based on principles and behaviors. His passion for lean transformation comes from seeking to unlock the great potential that people possess to build inspiring organizations.

1 Comment
  1. Curt says

    Dividing people into subgroups of work is NVA. The waste of sorting. The net result is the people waiting in long lines are now waiting in even longer lines. If the DMV could keep up with its demand by staffing appropriately, it would not need a triage.

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