California DMV – Stellar Example of Process Improvement Efforts


    Departments of Motor Vehicles around the globe are nightmares for people in every country. They will tell you horror stories about how they had to wait interminably for hours, how the DMV gave them the runaround while trying to get a new license or a driving license renewed. Getting your car checked for emissions and having it certified has its own volume of nightmarish stories. Buying or selling a car with transfer of title, getting new license plates all have their own dedicated chapters!

    California Department of Motor Vehicles even around ten years ago used to a nightmare of nightmares. Because of the large population of drivers, cars and the size of the CA state, its DMV stood out as the worst example of processes run amuck!

    Not anymore! In the last ten years, the California DMV has performed miracles through rationalization and the use of technology both in the home and spreading it through the other stakeholders like independent shops that check for emissions before the DMV can issue its annual renewal of the license plates!

    You can accomplish a lot just sitting at home or at work, through their web site and the use of US Postal service! Your car is due for an actual emissions check only every other year. They send you a letter in the mail three months ahead of the expiry date. If your car does not need an emissions test, you can renew through their web site and pay for it with a credit card. You get your renewal stickers in the mail and you are done! They have reduced waste even to such an extent that you usually need two stickers – one that says July and another that says 2008. They only send out the year sticker, since you renew around the same time every year anyway!

    If your car needs an emissions check, you take the notice to the Smog Check shop. They do the test and if you pass, they update the DMV computers automatically from their systems. You come home, and pay for it through the web site and you are done!

    They have leveraged the Internet as much as they can for all kinds of services that they would otherwise need you to come and stand in line!

    Don’t take my word for it! Here’s a funny blog entry about how some Californians are truly missing the bad experiences at the DMV!! There are many other California residents that agree on how much the DMV has improved here!

    The California DMV may have a lot of lessons to teach even Corporations. The results speak for themselves! Well done!

    There’s always room for improvement, you know-it’s the biggest room in the house. – Louise Heath Leber


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