skip navigation
New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services


Since 2009, DES has been actively working to improve its internal processes to deliver efficient and effective service to the taxpayers and to accomplish DES’s mission in the best ways that can be found. As of March 2015, 37 projects have been completed. See the Case Studies linked below for details.

DES is a member of the State Lean Network, a group of people representing public sector organizations in NH who are working to improve their own processes, and also offering a role in improving processes that involve more than one government agency.

DES Lean Mission Statement:
“Lean is intentionally changing for the better, using a set of proven quality- and customer-focused tools to improve our processes by removing wastes so that we can achieve our mission with the resources we have.”

What is Lean/Continuous Improvement?
Work processes can be defined and measured, so therefore they can be improved.  The current (early 21st century) state of the art in work process improvement is referred to as “Lean Management”, and is an evolution forward from Deming’s statistical methods, through Total Quality Management to Lean, which adds more emphasis on human elements, identifying and eliminating waste, and maximizing value to the customer


  • is a mindset, a proven set of tools, and a structured problem solving approach;
  • focuses meetings to ensure all participants understand the group’s purpose and desired outcome;
  • emphasizes small improvements that target waste;
  • pushes for quick implementation of solutions and measurement to define success;
  • helps us create processes to accomplish our daily work most effectively;
  • relies on staff for good ideas and solutions;
  • is NOT about simply “throwing Information Technology" (IT) at a problem without first improving the process, (although IT may ultimately be a part of the solution); 
  • is never “done” -- it’s all about continuous improvement!

What does “Waste” mean in this context?  Here are seven types of administrative waste or inefficiency:

Wastes Examples
Inventory Backlog of work (permits, plan approvals), excess materials/info, obsolete databases/files/folders
Defects Data errors, missing info., errors in documents, confusing instructions or requirements, typos
Overproduction Unneeded reports and copies, excess e-mail messages, doing work not requested
Complexity Unnecessary process steps, too many signature levels, unclear job descriptions
Waiting Time for approval cycles, waiting for information or decisions, waiting for people in meetings
Excess Motion Trips to printer and copier, unnecessary movement to find files or supplies, travel to meetings
Moving Items Report routing, transport of documents, document storage

Which is to say we want our work to go more like this:

more like this flowchart

And less like this:

less like this flowchart

Why Lean, specifically?

  • Reduces waste
  • Reduces costs
  • Decreases processing time
  • Increases productivity by freeing up time to do more value-added work
  • Improves quality of services
  • Meets customer expectations
  • Fixes those issues that drive staff crazy
  • Makes better use of existing resources

NH Department of Environmental Services | 29 Hazen Drive | PO Box 95 | Concord, NH 03302-0095
(603) 271-3503 | TDD Access: Relay NH 1-800-735-2964 | Hours: M-F, 8am-4pm

copyright 2017. State of New Hampshire