I once again read Michael Lukehart’s (Community Voices, May 11) with interest. It seems that getting an opportunity for a “do-over” didn’t result in any improvement. He still misses the main points.

Mr. Lukehart has zeroed in on Mr. Pryor’s use of terms “focus on the customer” and “professional development.” He totally whiffs by ascribing these terms as a replacement to actual process improvements. Personnel intensive processes can be custom-made for process improvement, whether or not the personnel are “highly motivated, highly competent, hard working and fully cognizant of the needs and limitations of their organizations.” I guess Mr. Lukehart has never had the opportunity to learn something new and apply it to his work. Process improvement knowledge is not taught on an everyday basis, so lots of highly motivated, highly competent people don’t know how it works.

Getting to Lukehart’s “heart-of-the-matter,” I guess he only skimmed my earlier submission. Since process improvement can have a large impact on costs, budget issues are also custom-made for process improvement. Will cuts need to eventually happen? Perhaps. But wouldn't it be great if many existing processes were examined to see if they could be improved and money could be saved? If process improvement is done well, there are no illusions. Data and processes become visible for all to see.

Perhaps Mr. Pryor erred in using a legal example. How could he know that our courts, the lawyers, and all the myriad processes that are used everyday are so profoundly perfect that a well thought out process improvement project could add no value?

Referencing Mr. Lukehart’s final paragraph, I agree that any process improvement consultant should find out what his clients actually do before he/she advises. Since the county is not my client, and the many referenced ideas were submitted as only possible opportunities to show people like yourself the potential benefits, I stand behind what I wrote.

Lastly, I will reiterate my statement of earlier that Mr. Lukehart should visit with people who have used LeanSixSigma and find out for himself what kind of successes have been seen. Ask pertinent and appropriate questions (if possible) so you can then comment on aspects of LSS that actually matter, not if your name is spelled correctly or if “police” is used instead of “sheriff. Also taking a break from writing editorials might be a good idea.

- David Ewert, Bakersfield