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Lean Event: March 13 - 15, 2013. CALS/CHE BSC process improvement towards the goal of providing optimal financial support services to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Human Ecology to enrich the teaching, research, and extension programs of both colleges.

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Lean Event: March 13 - 15, 2013

CALS/CHE BSC process improvement towards the goal of providing optimal financial support services to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Human Ecology to enrich the teaching, research, and extension programs of both colleges.


Change Leadership at Cornell

Implementation & Continuous Improvement

Goal Alignment

Process Improvement



*Change Leadership




CU Objectives

Faculty Excellence

Educational Excellence

Excellence in Research

Engagement Excellence

Staff Excellence

Seek knowledge

Dignity, respect, and fairness

University Strategic Initiatives

Support intellectual inquiry

Embrace difference

Core Values

Core Values

College/Division Goals

Sustain excellence

Promote cross-cultural understanding

Use knowledge to enlighten and benefit

Be a collaborative and collegial community

Reward and recognize merit

Be accessible and affordable


What is Lean?

  • James P. Womack and Daniel T. Jones (2003), coined the term in Lean Thinking about the Toyota Production System
  • They noticed 5 Principles at work:
  • 1. Customer defines value
    • How do you understand what your customer wants—and then build that into what you produce?
  • 2. Organize work to deliver value
    • How can you align your organization so that all that’s needed for a product or service is organized together? This contrasts with a stove-piped, traditional structure of Finance , HR, etc.
  • 3. Focus on the flow of work
    • How smooth is the flow? How short is the flow? How flexible is the system to adapt when a problem occurs?
  • 4. Produce at rate of customer demand
    • Set the pace for your activities to match your customer’s demand.
  • 5. Pursue perfection
    • Toyota instilled a relentless desire in everyone to continually improve

Why Lean?

  • Process Improvement is a tool to address Cornell’s workload challenge
    • Involves people doing the jobs figuring out what parts of the process need examined, are unnecessary, take time, and lead to inefficiency.
    • Creates a culture of change regarding how to streamline and size work to fit the hours people have to accomplish the work.
    • Builds capacity of staff and units while improving processes.
    • Protects the core mission by streamlining processes within organizations.
    • Encourages stewardship.
  • Lean thinking and improvements help us to:
    • Build a common culture–those closest to the work constantly discovering how to make work better.
    • Train our leaders to create work environments that support observation, experimentation and speed.
    • Become better problem finders and solvers.
    • Encourages recognition and feedback in all directions.
    • Develop universal competencies, transferrable job skills, and career growth.

Identifying the 8 Key Wastes



Hand-offs &


Extra Processing

Under-utilized talents

System Stress and


Errors & Defects



How Does Lean Work at Cornell?

  • Lean is “a systematic approach to identifying and eliminating waste...” There are many aspects and approaches. We usually start with Value Stream Mapping, by—
    • Identifying current state
    • Envisioning future state
    • Launching rapid process improvements
    • Ensuring stakeholder customer involvement
  • We “practice” Lean in a predictable setting —
    • 90-day improvement cycle
    • Lean Advisor coaching
    • Leadership “step-backs” and “gemba-walks”
  • We integrate improvement and daily work—
    • Application of “4 Key Systems” into operations
    • Peer coaching
    • Leader, executive, consultant , and program support

It all starts with getting the ‘mess on the wall’…

Cross-functional teams participate in a 3-day LAUNCH.

They learn to value-stream map, identify pain points, see waste, “own” their reality, and envision a future state.

More important than tools, they embrace an opportunity to make their work-lives better, together.


…followed by a 90-day improvement cycle: a ‘learning lab’ of sorts

  • Teams learn and experience
    • visual management
    • weekly rhythm
    • what it means ‘to win’
    • seeing gaps
    • problem solving through ideas

Along the way, we discover untapped talents, creativity, and energy we as employees possess.


What’s Unique About Lean?

  • “Wing-to-wing” improvements involve customers internal and external to the team, staff, and process partners
  • Lean requires a much faster rate of change than process improvement
  • Customers define what’s valuable
  • Aggressive improvement goals (at least 50% at the outset)
  • Continuous improvement is a way of life—the launch and Rapid Process Improvement all lead toward “daily kaizen”

Cornell’s Lean Journey

  • There is widespread support for Lean improvements across the University.
  • You are the first team to launch at Cornell.
  • We are confident in your ability to set goals, identify barriers, and continuously problem-solve and improve.

Value-Stream Mapping

  • Bookend current process
  • Complete major process steps
  • Add qualifiers: times (WT, PT, TT), rework, %CAC and multiple paths
  • Identify pain-points and issues
  • Map (or describe) future state
  • Identify possible improvements/focus areas
  • Connect back to goals
  • Report out

First Things First: Set an audacious goal that scares you

  • Anything less than 50% improvement encourages just working harder
  • Tweaks aren’t worth the time you’re spending here
  • An impossible goal requires that you dismantle a (dysfunctional) process
  • Line of Sight ensures success