Medina City School District employees representing business operations, finances, human resources, food service, technology and instruction have participated in a 3-day LEAN training at the Medina County University Center. LEAN, a business concept, is about operating the most efficient and effective organization possible, with the least amount of cost and zero waste.
LEAN has been used in companies such as Toyota, Wiremold, Porsche, Lantech, Pratt and Whitney. LEAN is more than just techniques and implementing processes, it’s about changing mindsets to identify and eliminate waste. LEAN can be applied to a variety of environments.
District Superintendent Dr. Randy Stepp stated, “We have worked hard to become a more efficient and effective school district in every area of our operations. However, there is always room for improvement and I believe that the adoption of LEAN thinking and processes will help us to further maximize our efficiencies and eliminate waste. It will cause us to truly look at what creates value and eliminate all other non-value added activities.”
The 3-day course that district employees participated in included LEAN 101, introducing the fundamentals of the LEAN process including waste identification, learning the 5S Steps for Success which include sort, set in order, shine, standardize and sustain. 5S is a system of organizing the workplace and providing the basis for sustaining the organization. Employees learned about the tools and systems to implement a successful Visual Management System. Visual Management is an improvement tool that utilizes visual aids such as charts, signs and visual queues to focus an organization on its objectives. Employees also learned about Standardized Work, one of the most powerful lean tools. This tool forms the basis for continuous improvement by documenting the current best practices. Lean Leadership will be introduced, teaching managers to always be in the mode of continuous improvement. Problem Solving will be taught as most organizations solve problems in counter-productive ways. Attendees learned how to address issues for the long-term, not using band-aids to resolve problems. Additional LEAN concepts were introduced to district employees throughout the training.
Superintendent Dr. Stepp said, “My goal is for us to gain knowledge in LEAN thinking and processes so that we can best optimize our goals and outputs in every area of the district. LEAN can be very far-reaching for us as a school district from administrative processes to classroom management.”
The presenter for the LEAN program is founder of Lean Concepts Inc., John Veatch. Veatch began Lean Concepts, Inc. in 1998 with the mission to build a consulting organization that delivers measurable increases in efficiency and productivity. District employees will participate in phase two of the training in January.