Monday, 21 March 2011

LEAN Central

Today myself and colleagues visited St Andrew's University, on our way to the UCISA Management Conference. We were talking to them about their implementation of LEAN, and spent the afternoon in LEAN Central. The space was one of the first things we talked about - you need a big, friendly, comfortable space, with lots of wall space, on tap tea and coffee and good AV. Just the sort of space we're hoping to create when we move out of the Computer Centre later this year.

St Andrew's began using LEAN 5 years ago, and have made a lot of progress. It was very helpful talking them about what had worked well, what might have been done differently,  and where they had had the greatest successes. What is very clear is that to be successful you have to embed change into the culture of the organisation,  and you must have support from senior management to ensure that change happens. It isn't easy - like most things it's no magic bullet, and does not always involve technology. What can be an issue is capacity - if you come up with recommendations to radically change a process, and it requires some sort of technology change or development and you haven't got the resource to implement it, then you have a problem.

I'm hoping to set up something similar to their LEAN Unit, and really make a difference to some of our processes. Lots of things still to sort out, but am optimistic that we can do it.

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