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Going Lean – Can It Work for Universities? Keith A. Willoughby, Ph.D. Senior Operations Research Specialist Health Quality Council Saskatoon, SK kwilloughby@hqc.sk.ca Denis Caron Provincial Dean of Industrial Training Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science & Technology (SIAST)

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going lean can it work for universities

Going Lean – Can It Work for Universities?

Keith A. Willoughby, Ph.D.

Senior Operations Research Specialist

Health Quality Council

Saskatoon, SK


Denis Caron

Provincial Dean of Industrial Training

Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science & Technology (SIAST)

Saskatoon, SK


part i
Part I
  • Lean 101
    • History, principles, tools
  • Success stories
  • Lessons learned
what we hope to accomplish
What we hope to accomplish
  • Acquaint you with the concepts of Lean
  • Introduce some of the language
  • Answer the questions, “What is it? What’s in it for me?”
more information on lean systems
More information on Lean systems
  • Womack JP, Jones DT, Roos D. The Machine That Changed the World, 1990.
  • Womack JP, Jones DT. Lean Thinking, 2003.
  • Some valuable websites:
    • www.lean.org (Lean Enterprise Institute)
    • www.leanUK.org (Lean Enterprise Academy)
pop quiz
Pop Quiz
  • Who started this whole notion of Lean principles, and when did they do this?
answer a
Answer A?
  • Jim Womack (1990)
  • 5-year, $5 million study of global vehicle production
    • International Motor Vehicle Program
  • Co-authored “The Machine That Changed the World” with Dan Jones and Dan Roos
  • Coined the term “Lean”
is it answer b
Is it…Answer B?
  • Taiichi Ohno (1912-1990)
  • 1950’s: Toyota Production System
    • Continuous Flow Production
    • Just-in-Time (JIT)
    • Eliminate defects
    • Top management commitment
    • Employee participation
  • 1969: Established the Operations Management Consulting Group
    • “Trainers” commissioned to promote Lean thinking within Toyota and the firms in its supplier group
or how about answer c
Or, how about… Answer C?
  • C.R. Dooley
  • Helped to develop the “Training Within Industry” program (1940s)
  • Infiltrated into Japanese industry by the Allied forces after World War II
could it be answer d
Could it be…Answer D?
  • Henry Ford, 1920s
  • Continuous Flow Assembly
  • Reduce wasted time
    • 1913-1914: doubled production with no increase in workforce
    • 1920-1926: Cycle time from 21 days to 2 days
but maybe it is answer e
But maybe it is…Answer E?
  • Eli Whitney (1700’s)
  • Quick production of high-quality muskets
    • Standard interchangeable parts
    • Minimal product variation
    • Ordered and integrated workflow
another choice answer f
Another choice…Answer F?
  • The Venetian arsenal
  • Republic of Venice, early 16th century
  • Could produce nearly one ship each day
    • Standardized parts
    • Production-line basis
what does this show us
What does this show us?
  • This is not new stuff
  • So why all the buzz today?
what is lean
What is “Lean”?
  • Providing value with less waste
  • Making common sense common practice
lean definitions
Lean definitions
  • Providing exactly what the customer needs, safely, when needed, in precisely the right quantity, and without waste
  • Providing value for the customer
  • A set of quality improvement tools and philosophy designed to eliminate the sources of waste in a system
what lean is not
What Lean is NOT
  • Layoffs
  • Customers = widgets
  • Making people work faster
lean principles
Lean principles
  • 1. What is value from the customer’s perspective?
  • 2. Understand your process
    • We’ll say more about this later
  • 3. Smooth the flow
    • Eliminate congestion
more principles
More principles
  • 4. Pull
    • Supplier doesn’t produce until the customer signals a need
    • Is there smooth communication between process steps?
  • 5. Pursue perfection
    • A continual, never-ending journey
lean tools a quick survey
Lean tools: A quick survey
  • Poka-Yokes (Failsafes)
    • Eliminates or reduces the opportunities for mistakes
  • Check John Grout's PokaYoke Page on www.mistakeproofing.com
  • Arrow to indicate location of fuel tanks (driver/ passenger side)
    • Great for rental vehicles
  • Gas cap tether does not allow the motorist to drive off without the cap
european streets
European streets
  • Tourists used to right-hand side driving need some help in London
  • Instructions are printed right on the asphalt
at the airport
At the airport
  • If your bag fits in the size-wise unit it will fit in the overhead compartment
visual control systems
Visual control systems
  • Labels, colour-coding to:
    • make it easier to find items
    • quicker ability to detect abnormal from normal
  • Examples:
    • Surgical shadowboards
    • Diagonal stripe along the fronts of binders
the philosophy of 5s
The philosophy of 5S
  • “5S” stands for 5 Japanese words each beginning with the letter “S”
  • Translated into English as:
    • Sort, Set, Shine, Standardize, Sustain
exploring 5s
Exploring 5S
  • “A visually-oriented system for organizing the workplace to minimize the waste of time”
  • “Clears the clouds”
    • Eliminates the waste of motion/ looking for things
  • Makes the abnormal visually obvious
some more on 5s
Some more on 5S
  • It is NOT simply cleaning up!
  • Following 5S principles helps provide the disciplined habits necessary for further phases of Lean implementation
process mapping
Process mapping
  • Obtain clearer understanding of how the process currently operates
  • Helps “learn to see” and “develop eyes for waste”
    • Redundant processing, unnecessary movement or wait time
  • Assist with identifying and planning improvements
lessons learned
Lessons learned
  • Culture, culture, culture
    • Top-down vision
    • Front-line enthusiasm
  • Build your own capacity
  • The first pass through a process map can identify obvious sources of waste
lessons learned35
Lessons learned
  • Let your data tell the story
  • There is a difference between a good idea and the right idea
  • Imbed improvement events within the day-to-day operations of your organization
  • Start with maintenance or purchasing

Part II

  • Lean Application in Post-Secondary Institutions

Words of Wisdom

  • "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage - to move in the opposite direction."
  • "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."

Albert Einstein

strategic thinking
Strategic Thinking
  • Old Mind
  • Develop strategic plans
  • Operate independently
  • Lead with authority
  • Cope with technology
  • Delegate financial management
  • Communicate facts and logic
  • Manage risk
  • Become an expert
  • New Mind
  • Plan, think strategically
  • Lead with vision & teams
  • Leverage technology
  • Develop personal business acumen
  • Uses metaphors, stories, images
  • Balance risk and reward
  • Remain a learner
strategic sense
Strategic sense

Get on the Balcony1



1 Heifetz, R.A & Laurie, D.L. (2001)

strategic thinking model
Strategic Thinking Model

Supporting Objectives “What”

Strategic Planning

“What and Why”


Plan in Action


siast s approach how
SIAST’s Approach(How?)
  • SIAST and division strategic plan
  • Business case
  • Survey
  • Strategic direction
  • Lean program pilot
    • Industrial Mechanics Labs and Classrooms
siast lessons learned
SIAST - Lessons Learned
  • Plant the seed early
  • Find and support champions
  • Don’t go it alone
  • Find quick wins
  • Leverage success
  • Communicate effectively and frequently
  • Educate, educate, educate
  • Remain focused and determined
siast future direction
SIAST - Future Direction
  • Industrial Division
    • Expansion of lean practices
    • Self sufficiency
    • Education and training (Green belts)
  • Registration Services
    • Registration process
    • Student transcript process
    • Waitlist management
potential post secondary applications
Potential Post-Secondary Applications
  • Facility maintenance
  • Care-taking services
  • Food services
  • Finance, procurement and inventory control
  • Student registration and transcript processes
  • IT processes (student and staff course management, libraries)
  • Classroom scheduling
  • Research and publications

Q & A

  • Keith Willoughby, kwilloughby@hqc.sk.ca
  • Denis Caron, caron@sasktel.net