2013 was the year of the ‘Kaizen’ in the
Kitsap County Auditor’s Office. For those of
you who are unfamiliar, Kaizen is a method
of implementing continuous rapid
improvements and eliminating waste.
To begin the year, each Division of the
Auditor’s Office – Elections, Financial
Services, Recording, and Licensing –
underwent extensive Lean Six Sigma training.
Lean Six Sigma is a process for waste
reduction made famous by organizations such
as Toyota and Virginia Mason Medical Center,
and a key element of a Kaizen event.
Lean Six Sigma uses a belt based training
system, similar to Karate. Auditor’s Office
staff received yellow belts upon completion
of the training and implementation of
process improvement projects.
To say the Elections Division was aggressive
in their process improvements would be an
understatement. They implemented a new
digital ballot counting system that resulted
in a nearly complete overhaul of the ballot
design, assembly, printing, opening, and
tabulating processes. The end result was a
huge reduction in printing costs and staff
hours needed to count ballots which is
helping offset the cost of purchasing and
maintaining the system. Elections also
launched a new candidate filing system that
allows prospective candidates to file for
office online and pay by credit card, which
were not available in Kitsap County
previously. Nearly 70% of candidates used
the new online system. Additionally,
Elections reorganized its storage area and
website to improve staff and customers’
ability to locate the information they need.
Elections Division improvements were rivaled
by the Financial Services Division which
re-invented its Accounts Payable process.
The project involved additional green belt
training to qualify Financial Services staff
to facilitate an Accounts Payable Kaizen
event. As a result of this week-long project
we drastically reduced our Accounts Payable
process from 124 steps down to 64 steps – a
48% reduction. This created extra capacity
which is being re-invested into the system
allowing us to improve customer service by
processing vouchers on a daily basis rather
than the current weekly process. It also
better positions us to reach our ultimate
goal of a streamlined paperless processing
system and a quick turn around on invoice
payments that we hope will help us take
advantage of discount rates.
The Recording Division is actively
modernizing many of its services. Soon
customers will have the ability to submit
marriage license applications and legal name
change documents electronically. The
recently launched Combined Indexing System
simplifies recorded document searches by
eliminating the need to use industry jargon
like ‘grantor’ and ‘grantee.’ Our new
Virtual Vault digitizes all documents
recorded on microfiche and microfilm from
1977 to 1986 for the public to search, view
and print. We are now able to accept debit
and credit cards for recorded document fees.
Correspondence with our customers has
improved greatly thanks to our new Alpha
filing system for returned correspondence.
The new process allows staff to easily
verify communications with our customers,
including documents and information provided
which improves our ability to resolve
customer service issues that may arise. We
worked with the Animal Control Citizen
Advisory Committee to develop a new fee
structure for 2014 that encourages pet
owners to register their animals by
providing more pricing options.
In 2014 we will continue to aggressively
look at areas where we may implement process
improvements and reduce waste, while
sustaining and improving on the changes that
were made in 2013.
The Kitsap County Auditor’s Office wishes
you a safe and Happy Holiday Season and we
look forward to serving you in the New Year!
Beyond the Books Archives
Auditor's Office, 360-337-7128