Report: Lean Management in the Public Sector Study Meeting, 16-20 August 2011, Bangkok, Thailand

Group Photo of Participants


In line with the Asian Productivity Association (APO) vision and mission “to be the leading international organization on productivity enhancement, by enabling APO economies to be more productive and competitive” while focusing on one of its major thrusts to catalyze innovation-led productivity growth by increasing efficiency, quality and performance, the Lean Management was chosen as a tool in enhancing quality of services, increasing stakeholders satisfaction and improving cost-effectiveness and transparency in the public sector. Specifically, the objectives of the project are to assess the status of lean management system implementation in the public sector in member countries and develop the methodology and a road map for applications of lean management system in the public sector.


West Visayas State University (WVSU) as a lead public higher educational institution in the Philippines is a key player in the integral formation of a professionally competent, service oriented, principled, and productive citizens. However, inadequate government resources for education, inequitable distribution of public higher education funds and inefficient use of resources are among the issues that confronts public higher education for rationalization. Along with these, major adjustments are considered to address the issue: the reduction in student load and student population, changes in revenues and costs, and the declining quality of teaching, research and other services.

To be fully responsive to its mission and to the challenges of a rapidly changing environment, WVSU has committed to a comprehensive planning and performance improvement process. Through this process, the university searches for innovative ways to meet the increasing demand for educational services considering the dwindling government subsidy for SUCs. Through the Planning and Development Office with a newly created units; Management Information System, Monitoring and Evaluation, and Campus Physical Planning, it initiates short, medium and long term plans, organizational development framework and policy studies as an integral part of the rationalization process using the Organizational Performance Indicators framework and Normative Financing Scheme being applied in the allocation of government funding and a measure of performance. Also, the University is being subjected to various levels of accreditation by different national and international accrediting agencies.

The Lean Management tools are very relevant and timely not only to the institution’s needs in particular, but in coming up with a model or framework which may work well for the entire educational sector of the country. More specifically, this project equips us with principles, tools, techniques, and more importantly gain insights on best practices shared by our participating member countries in our strong and sincere desire to improve productivity and quality of services in our respective areas of assignments.


A total of twenty-four (24) participants from fifteen (15) APO member countries including six (6) from the host country attended the study meeting. Majority of the participants are holding key government positions in policy and innovation studies, productivity enhancement and developmental projects and a number of participants from the academic institutions.

Participants from the Philippines were all from the State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), namely, West Visayas State University (WVSU) as Professor/Planning and Development Director, Central Luzon State University (CLSU) as Executive Assistant, and Visayas State University (VSU) as Associate Professor/Executive Assistant all of them are actively involved or engaged in quality and productivity enhancement program of their respective University.


The lean management as a tool in enhancing productivity and performance is very timely and relevant in public governance and in academic institutions in particular.

Firstly, lean management stresses on the definition of customer value rather than assets and organization; secondly, it creates an end-to-end primary processes to design, deliver and support this value with minimum wastes and time; thirdly, it builds a management system to develop, sustain, and improve these processes over time; and most importantly be clear about customer purpose before designing these processes. Simply, the principles of lean methods include the voice of the customer, minimal inventory and continuous improvement. Among the tools or framework adopted and commonly used by Korea, Canada and Thailand as well as participating APO countries were 5s, Kaizen, Kanban, Value stream-mapping, TQM and a mixed of these approaches across various levels and functions.

Challenges and issues confronting the public sector includes bloated bureaucracy, lack of transparency, lack of leadership, lack of regulations and process focused which prompted most of the Asian countries to institute Civil Service Reform, Enterprises Reform and Fiscal Reforms through various rationalization programs. These include among others e-government, regulatory reforms, horizontal integration as well as macro and micro level initiatives.

More particularly, limited financial resources resulting from government cutbacks on education, compels public higher educational institutions to make adjustments in addressing the issue, among which is the reduction in student load or student numbers, the change in revenues and costs, while confronting the downward adjustments in quality of teaching and other services. Due to the declining government subsidy for higher education, SUCs are also resorting to privatization and commercialization by entering into a joint agreements with private corporations to increase income. Thus, the adoption of Normative Scheme in SUCs (Philippine Country Paper) augers well as a lean management tool where budget allocation is mainly based on key performance indicators and major thrusts of the government. Hence, most if not all of the frameworks and the experiences in implementing the lean management system shared by the resource persons as well as participating APO countries can also be adopted in the Philippine Educational System.


To APO member countries
1. If possible, conduct similar trainings or workshops by cluster or sector so as to address specific issues and concerns. (Example Lean management for Higher Public Education)
2. Provide funding for research-based and capability building projects or activities on lean management.
3. Encourage participants to conduct studies in line with lean management approaches.
4. Provide on-site visits, actual exposure/OJT or study tour during or after the training.
5. Identify the best practices and tools adopted by each participating member.

To the National Productivity Organization (DAP)
1. Sponsor/conduct national training/workshops/forum of similar nature.
2. Allocate/outsource funds for research-based activities.
3. Assist/coordinate with the government in implementing rationalization program using lean management system.

To Philippine government
1. Review comprehensively Civil Service, Administrative and Fiscal Reforms.
2. Strictly monitor and implement various rationalization program of the government.
3. Fast track ICT infrastructure program to support e-governance.
4. Require each agency/department/unit to conduct customer satisfaction survey and come up with Citizens Charter.
5. Encourage Higher Education Sector to conduct studies and define framework or models appropriate and applicable in improving public governance.

To the Institution (West Visayas State University)
1. Sponsor/conduct national/regional periodic training/workshops/forum of similar nature.
2. Allocate/outsource funds for research-based activities.
3. Strengthen Management Information System and provide reliable information for management decisions.
4. Create a Lean Management Committee to formulate, review, and update policies and guidelines in Implementing lean management system.
5. Come up with a framework or model that fits well with the system.
6. Provide mechanism for feedback in the implementation of programs, projects and activities.


Director, University Planning and Development Office
West Visayas State University


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