What is Lean?

At the most basic level, Lean is a set of process management practices and decision making tools.  The goals of Lean are consistent across all industries and departments: reduce waste and improve Quality, Speed, Cost, Safety, and Morale.  Improving all five areas will support long-term success for the organization and everyone involved—including customers, employees, owners, suppliers and other stakeholders.


Lean has already been applied in manufacturing (factories, product design, and administrative functions) and service industries (including healthcare, banking, and government). The City of Detroit is one of the first municipalities in the United States to implement focused Lean initiatives, practices and development. 

How is the City of Detroit using Lean now?

The City of Detroit officially launched a Lean program in 2013 when Mayor Duggan asked for help from local consulting companies.  As of July 2018, the Lean team has expanded by hiring 4 full time team members, over 100 certified Green Belts, and over 200 trained in the fundamental Lean Process  Improvement Tools. 

Green Belt Training - Currently Accepting Detroit Employees Interested until Dec 6th.

Green Belt Training is a 12 week course that is offered 3 times a year at Detroit Public Safety Headquarters. Green Belt training consists of 3 components:

  • 12 weeks of hands-on classroom training (Fridays from 9AM-1PM)
  • Weekly e-learning assignments
  • Completing a project that helps apply the strategies taught in class (while making a significant impact in the workspace!)

To complete the components of training, Green Belt Certification requires a commitment of 8-12 hours a week for approximately 14 weeks. Green Belt candidates will work with Excel, Powerpoint, Smartsheet, Moresteam’s elearning tool, and the analytical software Engine Room. Projects will be determined through a collaboration between the Green Belt candidate, LEAN Team, and the Department Leaders.

If you would like to sign up for the next Green Belt Training, please visit www.bitly.com/codleantraining. You will be contacted by a member of the Lean team regarding next steps. If you would like more information about LEAN Green Belt training, contact a member of the Lean Team or email [email protected].

Additional ways to get involved

If you are a City of Detroit employee, there are 3 additional ways you can utilize Lean in your workplace: 

  • Continuous Lean Community (CLC)

    This community meets about once a quarter and is designed for people who have already participated in the Lean Fundamentals, LPI, or Green Belt Training
    Its purpose is to connect like-minded City of Detroit Employees, introduce new continuous improvement tools, and continue to recognize and support projects. Stay tuned for a calendar of events for 2019.

  • 2 Day LPI Training
    Lean Process Improvement, LPI, is a training curriculum designed to introduce basic problem solving techniques. City employees will learn how to improve internal processes within their respective departments by implementing simple common sense solutions - and avoid relying on cumbersome fixes such as technology improvements, capital projects, and/or additional staff.

    To maximize its effectiveness the LPI training is offered in a personalized setting with a maximum class size of 12 participants. The training is 4-6 hours and given over a 2 day period. At the completion of the classroom training you'll work on a project that is expected to be completed within 45 days.

    If you, or your supervisor, would like additional information on the Lean Process Improvement curriculum please contact a member of the Lean Team at [email protected].

  • 2 Hour Lean Introduction

    The Lean team offers a 2 hour Introduction to Lean and 6Sigma. This is a great resource for an area or department who is just starting the process of implementing Lean projects and processes. This training opportunity is best completed with a group of 10-20 participants, and is available upon request. If you are a supervisor and you would like to get more information about this, please contact a member of the Lean Team.

  • Lean Project Support

    If you have a project that will benefit the City of Detroit and would like Lean systems and resources to help complete it, please contact a member of the Lean Team. Lean projects are projects that focus on opportunities to reduce waste and improve Quality, Speed, Cost, Safety, and Morale. More information about City of Detroit Lean Projects is available upon request.


Below, under DOCUMENTS, are a few example of projects and processes that have been improved by someone going though Green Belt Training & Certification in the document section.

City Council President
City Council Pro Tem