Reinventing Boulder Laboratories


Agency: Department of Commerce

Title: Reinventing Boulder Laboratories

Background Information

The Department of Commerce Boulder Laboratories, designated as one of Commerce's five reinvention labs, are currently working to reengineer administrative functions to work better so that Commerce scientists and engineers can respond more efficiently and at a lower cost to their customers.

The Boulder Laboratories are currently experimenting with ways to respond more efficiently and at a lower cost to their customers by examining and re-evaluating the administrative workings of several Commerce Bureaus. Reinvention teams, with representatives from various functional groups, are dealing with concerns about personnel, equipment and scientific services, information resources management and flow, and facilities and logistics. The Boulder Reinvention Lab is proceeding with implementation along three tracks:

1. Initiating "quick fix" changes which are within the Department's authority to implement. To date, nine quick-fix changes have been implemented.

2. Getting legislative and regulatory waivers to implement more ambitious changes. The Board of Directors recently approved two personnel change papers which will be forwarded to the Office of Human Resources Management to request waivers from Office of Personnel Management..

3. Re-engineering administrative systems. This track will require a great deal of work, including benchmarking systems of organizations that have already implemented changes. One of the reinvention teams is currently investigating travel systems of various organizations for benchmarking.

Several steps have already been implemented, such as improving the ways supervisors account for their employees' time, reducing redundant licensing requirements for the operation of government vehicles, and increasing the flexibility accorded to managers for recognizing employee achievement. Lessons learned from these exercises will prove invaluable to the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the rest of the Department of Commerce.

Main NPR Category: Customer Service

Related NPR Categories: Cutting Red Tape

Contact Person: Paige Gilbert

Contact Phone: (303) 497-3017

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