It’s no secret that these are difficult financial times for most Americans. And when the economy is down, state governments find themselves with less tax revenue and more constituents in need of important services. The end result is a state government that is forced to do more with fewer resources and a serious budget deficit to overcome.
While some state and local governments start to pare back on important services or government personnel, others are able to weather the storm by operating more effectively, increasing efficiency and cutting their operating expenses. Surprisingly, it’s often the smallest or simplest steps that bring the most significant savings.
Need proof? Look no further than the State of Indiana.
We recently published a new Advantage article in our resource center about a program launched by Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels entitled Operating with New Efficiency - or OneIndiana for short. This program looked across the state’s disparate agencies and organizations to identify practices and procedures that could be consolidated at a savings to the government and its taxpayers. The state also worked to identify wasteful or inefficient practices and deploy systems to eliminate them or replace them with more effective processes.
What the state discovered was that multiple agencies each had their own independent services. As each agency grew, they had established and maintained their own mailrooms, courier services, copy centers, printing vendors and document management systems. This may not seem like a problem to many, but the state was losing the economy of scale that comes from operating one single set of services across all of the agencies.
To remedy the situation and deliver savings to the state, a consolidation initiative was begun and select nongovernmental tasks were outsourced. The eight separate mailrooms were consolidated down into one single “megacenter” which handled the services and housed and maintained the equipment of all of the agencies. This enabled the state to save significantly in postage and more effectively presort their outgoing mail.
The consolidated courier services also led to efficiencies for the state. Previously, packages would be picked up by disparate courier services from the various agencies and delivered to the same place. With all packages being aggregated and delivered together, the state was able reduce the amount of individual deliveries that couriers made and save money. In addition, all offset printing is now being done in-house, which eliminates the extra time needed to acquire bids.
But the “megacenter” wasn’t the only cost saving result of the OneIndiana effort. The state was also able to identify antiquated processes that could be updated and made more efficient.
In the case of the Indiana Family & Social Services Administration (FSSA), government employees found themselves having to travel to centralized warehouses where paper files and records were kept. By digitizing these documents and making them available in a single, digital repository, employees can save on travel expenses and spend more time doing mission-critical tasks.
Similar efficiencies were found with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV), which was printing out thousands of vehicle titles each day, only to physically pull out a small fraction which were needed. The process of manually sorting through the titles wasted significant staff time each week. By automating that process, the BMV employees were able to use those hours serving constituents instead.
When the OneIndiana initiative was complete and the state had consolidated, updated and improved its processes and operations, they realized a total savings of more than $3 million a year. That’s a lot of money put back into the state’s coffers and the taxpayers’ pockets.
Even more important, by increasing the efficiency of its operations, the state also expedited its processes. This means that the government is working better and faster for its constituents. And that’s what truly matters.
For additional information on the OneIndiana effort and how it saved the state $3 million a year, download the new Advantage article from our resource center.