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Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control

Delaware Lean Process Improvement Initiative

State Agency:  Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control      
Methods Implemented:  Value Stream Mapping

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) first used Value Stream Mapping (VSM) in July 2005 to identify ways to make air construction permitting processes more efficient. Michigan’s success using VSM to improve a similar air permitting process served as a model for Delaware’s initiative.  The Department’s “Future state” VSM workshop goals focused on improving permit processing times by significantly reducing rework and waiting periods and increasing early communication with the permit applicant.  The Delaware Economic Development Office, General Motors, and other industry representatives provided technical assistance and guidance during all phases of the VSM process improvement initiative.  Success stemming from the air construction permitting VSM workshop has led Delaware DNREC to expand its process improvement initiative—the Department is currently in the planning stages for five additional VSM projects.

Process Improvement Activities


Improvement Activities

Air Construction Permitting

Conducted a VSM workshop on minor source air construction permitting (2005)

Project Initiation and Key Drivers

The Delaware Economic Development Office, in conjunction with local industry representatives familiar with Michigan’s success using VSM, recommended that Delaware DNREC apply VSM tools to increase efficiency in their permitting processes.

The Delaware Economic Development Office provided funding for a facilitator from the Delaware Manufacturing Extension Partnership.

External Involvement and Technical Assistance
Industry Project Team

Industry representatives, primarily from the automotive and applied chemistry sectors, were part of the project team and participated in the VSM workshop, permit redesign, and subsequent monthly project review meetings.


The Delaware Manufacturing Extension Partnership facilitated the workshop and is providing on-going assistance to the DNREC.


The Delaware DNREC Air Division has implemented a number of process changes as a result of the air construction permitting VSM workshop, including:

  • Developing new permit applications;
  • Installing visual permit tracking boards;
  • Implementing a “First In, First Out” permitting system;
  • Initiating pre-submittal application meetings; and
  • Implementing administrative and technical completeness gates.

As a result of these process changes, Delaware DNREC Air Division has seen:

  • Backlog reduced from 199 to 59 natural minor permits in three months and to 25 in one year;
  • Natural minor air construction permits issued within 76 days of application submittal;
  • Delaware DNREC staff time allocated more effectively to “mission critical” work;
  • Rework reduced by 45 percent;
  • Devotion of ½ FTE employees devoted to VSM efforts during project planning and implementation stages;
  • Improved communication with industry applicants;
  • A process improvement culture integrated into the Division; and
  • Staff gained ownership of the process, empowering them to identify and address improvement opportunities.
Future Plans
  • Delaware DNREC continues to implement VSM-identified goals for the minor source air construction permitting process.
  • Delaware DNREC is initiating the following three VSM workshops in September 2006: Brownfields, underground storage tanks, and synthetic minor air construction permitting.
  • The Department is also scoping two additional projects (wetlands permitting and storm water Permitting) for process improvement using VSM tools.
For More Information

Delaware DNREC, VSM Process Improvement Initiative: 
http://www.dnrec.state.de.us/DNREC2000/VSM/Index.htm Exit EPA Disclaimer

For additional information, contact:

Bob Zimmerman, Director of Operations, Delaware DNREC
89 Kings Hwy, PO Box 1401
Dover, DE  19901
(302) 739-4403

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