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Evaluating Methods of Change. Nancy Kress Head, Bookstacks Department University of Chicago Library. The Challenge Users expect books to be on the shelf at all times. Bookstacks Mission: The Stacks Department serves library patrons through quick, accurate re-shelving of library materials.

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Evaluating Methods of Change

Nancy Kress

Head, Bookstacks Department

University of Chicago Library

The ChallengeUsers expect books to be on the shelf at all times

Bookstacks Mission:

The Stacks Department serves library patrons through quick, accurate re-shelving of library materials.

Methodologies for Change 2003 - present
  • Process mapping
    • 2003-2005
  • Continuous process improvement
    • 2004-present
  • Lean Manufacturing
    • present
What wasn’t solved?
  • Peak book returns
    • 4 quarterly due dates
    • Normal weekly book returns avg. 8,000
    • Peak weekly returns avg. 35,000
Best Practice Models
  • Other Libraries
  • Similar process organizations
    • U.S. Post Office
    • Library Bindery
Heckman Plant Tour
  • View lean manufacturing process
  • Improve Bookstacks efficiencies at Regenstein
What is “Lean Manufacturing?”
  • Lean manufacturing is aimed at elimination of waste
  • Organize processes to add value to the customer
  • Deliver goods “just-in-time”
  • Service organizations also using lean
History of Lean
  • “The Machine That Changed the World”
  • Toyota auto manufacturing
  • “Value chain”
Basic Lean Principles
  • Add nothing but value
    • Eliminate “muda” – waste
  • Do it right the first time
  • People doing the work add value
    • Team oriented
  • Deliver on demand
    • “Pull” instead of push
Lean learned from Heckman
  • Key Principle #1: Pull…
    • …means work isn’t done until a downstream process requires it
    • Make only what the next process needs – when it needs it
“Pull” becomes “Immediate Shelving”
  • The Process:
    • Only full shelves pulled to cart
    • One shelf = 30 minutes
Lean learned from Heckman
  • Key Principle #2: Batching
    • Key to rapid delivery is small batch sizes
“The Goal” by Eliyahu M. Goldratt & Jeff Cox
  • “This book is about progress. It’s about the creation and acceptance of improvements – change for the better.”
More from “The Goal”…
  • What is the Bookstacks Department’s ONE goal?
    • Quick, accurate reshelving
    • All books on the shelf in correct order, ALL THE TIME
Our Challenge for Lean
  • Peak Book Returns
  • 4 Quarterly Due Dates
    • Normal weekly returns: 6,000
    • Peak returns: 35,000
Brainstorming Session
  • Book knowledge can only go so far…
    • Best way to learn is by DOING
  • Begin where the greatest need exists
Creating “level pull”
  • “Level pull” is basically a replenishment model
    • Replenish Bookstacks shelves
  • Create a “level” daily schedule of work
    • Use inventory to buffer against large swings in work
Keys to level pull
  • Create inventory
    • “supermarket”
  • Organize how inventory is stored
    • Consolidate similar types
Optimize the Bottlenecks
  • Reduce batch sizes
    • Eliminate uneven amounts of work
  • Put the best people on the bottlenecks
    • They set the pace
Future Outcomes?
  • GOAL: measurable results
  • VALUE: high use books are on shelf
Future Goals
  • Bionic Bookstacks
    • Better
    • Stronger
    • Faster
Exercise: Identifying Waste
  • What activities add no value to library users?
Waste Categories
  • Overproducing
  • Inventory
  • Waiting
  • Extra Processing
  • Correction
  • Excess Motion
  • Transportation
  • Underutilized People


Goldratt, E. M. & Cox, J. (1992). The goal: A process of ongoing improvement 2nd rev. ed.). Great Barrington, MA: North River Press.

Keyte, B., & Locher, D. (2004) The complete lean enterprise: Value stream mapping for administrative and office processes. New York: Productivity Press.

Madison, D. (2005). Process mapping, process improvement, and process management: A practical guide for enhancing work and information flow. Chico, Calif: Paton Press.

Nalicheri, N., Baily, C., & Cade, S. The lean, green service machine.

Poppendick, M. (2002). Principles of lean thinking.

Rother, M., Shook, J., & Lean Enterprise Institute. (2003). Learning to see: Value stream mapping to create value and eliminate muda (Version 1.3 ed.). Brookline, MA: Lean Enterprise Institute.