University of Iowa Lean
HOW TO GET STARTED
Selecting a Lean Tool
It’s critical for all tools to have the support of management and leaders to ensure that the Lean tool selected will be successful, and that the changes made will be sustained in the future. It’s important to remember to choose the right tool by examining which areas of your process are the biggest problem areas at the current time. The University of Iowa offers three different tools for your organization to choose from, depending on the current need.
A Kaizen event is a useful tool for making major changes in more extensive organizational processes. It brings together the leaders, customers, frontline workers, and other stakeholders in a structured, participatory, and facilitated effort that closely examines and evaluates each of those processes. This effort is based on an urgent need recognized by leadership and documented by completing a Case for Change. This event can take up to three full days. Refer to the Steps to Lean Success for details about planning and executing a kaizen event.
A burst is a shorter version of a kaizen event. It is used to examine processes that are shorter with a more focused scope. Because of the shorter scope, it usually takes one day or less.
The Five S organizational improvement process helps to reduce the time the client uses trying to remember or look for information and allows them to allocate more time to ‘mission critical’ activities. Its purpose is to assist clients to become more organized and productive by streamlining and organizing their physical work space. Doing so enhances their ability to collect, efficiently store, and quickly retrieve relevant hardcopy and electronic information.
Some common problems in processes that people seek to change are:
- Complexity of processes
- Use of secondary "shadow systems"
- Time wasted on non “mission critical” work
- Problems with productivity (extensive rework needed)
- Low employee morale
Follow the “Process Improvement Pyramid”
- Identify 'Mission Critical' processes
- Review for value/waste-simplify or eliminate process steps
- Reallocate responsibilities to staff
Process Improvement Pyramid