Wednesday, 29 January 2014

LEAN and Lego

About 18 months ago we set up our Process Improvement Unit, which has done some great work looking at a number of processes across the University. There's some case studies of completed projects here,  and a list of projects currently being worked on here.  As well as carrying out process improvement events, the team also have a training and awareness remit, and today I attended a morning session on process improvement awareness together with other staff from across CiCS. It was for people not directly involved in process improvement events, but for those who might be sponsors, or have members of their team involved. With process being an estimated 90% of what the University does, it's vital that we take process improvement seriously.

One of the tools the team uses is LEAN, and we had a quick look at the history of it  - it came from Toyota who saw what Ford were doing in the US in car manufacturing, and decided to improve it!  there are two main pillars in this model of process improvement - respect for people (if the end result is worse for the people involved, or customer service is worse, than people will not participate again), and continuous improvement (constantly thinking about how to do things better)  - they have to go hand in hand.

We looked in more detail about a couple of imporantt concepts - value and waste. In summary, every part of a process has to add value, and waste has to be eliminated. Well explained here.

And then - a practical exercise - building things with lego.  Ziggurats to be precise. I can't give too much away, but a great demonstration using production line techniques of many LEAN principles.

I was Queen, of course, and was pleased that by round three, I had plenty of Ziggurats coming my way!

Very enjoyable and informative day.

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