1 Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification Course ED 7333 Dr. Young Dr. Sheptak Andreas Johansson Kenston Local Schools Spring 2015
2 1 My lean journey began a few years ago after encountering Paul Akers on some video online discussing the best ways to keep a carpentry shop clean. I was fascinated with the fact that the whole concept had a name, was heavily, and widely used on private industry, and was one of 2 the key metrics by which major corporations like Honda and Toyota were as successful as they are. Lean Six Sigma became something of a hobby on the side, before really making the connection with all things K 12, and shifting my focus to the functions and responsibilities I 3 have today, as the Director of Technology Integration at Kenston Local Schools, running our small team of four. Lean Six Sigma is the combination of two major processes, or modes of thought and 4 operations. Lean focuses on driving value to the customer, and removing roadblocks that stand in the way of creating flow of said value, with heavy emphasis on reducing waste in the workplace. Six Sigma s purpose is to reduce variation in production. The six sigmas refer to the statistical analysis done in order to ensure a tight conformity to maximize defect free 5 production, where one should only expect 3.4 defects per one million widgets produced. If you produce a million cars per year, only 3.4 or less are defective to the customer if the process operates at Six Sigma. Both Lean and Six Sigma strive for continuous improvement, and both aim for perfection. And not perfection like we try really hard, but perfection as in there are no defects, and we have maximized value in our process. Those are quite different, and it s what attracts me to the methods involved. 6 My first official Lean Six Sigma training was a few years back at Lorain County ESC. The ESC had invited a Lean Six Sigma Master Black belt (there are levels in Lean Six Sigma based on martial art standings, the Master Black belt being the highest level, and that of a 1 Paul Akers is a former cabinet maker turned business owner, inventor, innovator, and leading Lean evangelist. He resides in state of Washington, where he runs FastCap, Inc. He is the author of 2 Second Lean, an excellent quick read on process improvement anyone can make. 2 Toyota is one of the pioneers in Lean Six Sigma, and especially well known for SMED, or Single Minute Exchange of Die, where they can change from making a Camry to a Corolla in less than ten minutes. 3 This is my second year at Kenston Local Schools as the Director of Technology Integration, in charge of the IT Team, as well as professional development on tech integration topics. 4 Value is defined as anything the customer is being able and willing to pay for goods, services, or something else completely. 5 A defect is defined as anything less than perfect, but doesn t necessarily mean a defect to the customer. The defect can occur well before an actual widget is delivered to the customer. 6 I worked at Lorain County ESC as an Educational Technology Integration Consultant from
3 seasoned practitioner) to present to the leadership team the various methods involved, and how we might apply the techniques and tools to our daily operations. I was hooked immediately, as Lean Six Sigma provides formal tools to structure what I already tend to do naturally process improvement, continuous improvement, and striving for excellence in all things. Lean Six Sigma codifies the way we operate, improve, and move forward with better solutions. I continued to practice a Lean mindset by daily 2 second improvements like sorting the inbox (both on my desk and in ), making tiny adjustments that saved time, and working on processes either improving current ones, or developing new ones where none existed. One theorem that Lean Six Sigma advocates for is there can be no improvement without standardization. I wholeheartedly agree. If we don t know what to improve, how can we begin in the first place? If we can t measure against a baseline measurement, how do we know we 7 improved? However, at the time what I missed, was real drive from the organization (which is always challenging) and others joining me in a formal manner. Also, I lacked more formal training in the tools and methods of Lean Six Sigma. Last year, I found what I had been looking for. The State of Ohio, through grant and innovative seed funding, had created a new program called Lean Ohio, and offered bootcamp training sessions to public employees like school district staff, elected and otherwise government 8 staff, and that kind of individuals. I immediately applied for their scholarship, and asked for permission to participate as it required five full days of off site training. I was awarded the scholarship, and attended the Lean Ohio Bootcamp in the spring of Now I was hooked, but 9 needed more. The Bootcamp offered a pseudo certification, the Camo belt, but I yearned for the Green Belt, knowing I will one day earn the Lean Six Sigma Black Belt. I sought out Green Belt training opportunities, and though there were plenty, most required additional multi day time commitments (not something my boss was interested in committing to), and were out of my price range. Then I found the online training for Green Belt 10 through GoLeanSixSigma.com, promising a globally recognized Green Belt training and 7 At Lorain County ESC a willingness to pursue that drive... 8 Scholarships of up to $2,000 were offered to attend training sessions hosted throughout the State. 9 The Camo Belt is not one of the recognized levels in Lean Six Sigma. 10 Well vetted, and highly recommended by the Lean Ohio program.
4 11 certification process. I signed up, attended class online, took the examinations, and passed. I earned by Green Belt status at the end of May 2015, and will now look to the future for the next adventure. 12 The Green Belt course offered intermediate and advanced toolsets for dealing with process improvement in the workplace. A lot of emphasis was put on Lean principles, like the 8 Wastes (or Muda, in Japanese) Defects, Overproduction, Waiting, Non Utilized Talent, Transportation or Touches, Inventory, Motion, and Extra Processing. Other concepts included 5S, or how to improve work cell efficiency by daily processes to keep a clean area Sort, Set in 15 Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain. All of the concepts are heavy in connection to production facilities, or assembly line type production. But there s a strong connection that can be made with any process, especially in education, where we often lack process and procedure, with no set or formal structures for continuous improvement, and where the jury is still out on 16 whether or not standardization is a good thing. Regardless, it is hard to argue against the institutionalization of Lean Six Sigma in any workplace once you see the valuable data collected and analyzed, and improvement plans filed and executed. Lean Six Sigma aims to make both small and large contributions to the improvement 17 cycle, but often aims to reduce production time, or takt time, by 50% or more. That number sounds amazing on paper, but often becomes a reality with well executed plans, procedures, and sustained efforts. Another major concept in Lean Six Sigma is the idea of the customer. Everything that is done, is done with the customer in mind. The customer can be both internal or external, as in another department, or the paying retail customer at the store. Both require a high level of service 11 Spending more that 30+ hours of actual study online, not including the examinations, and then more than 30+ hours applying the actual concepts in my place of work, specifically on process improvement. 12 As the Belt levels go up, more advanced tools are utilized, especially in statistical analysis, where the Black Belt levels focus almost exclusively on driving change through reducing variation through analysis. 13 Transportation refers to the movement of the widget, like and item being produced, or paperwork shipped between departments, regardless of method used (by hand, or electronically). 14 Motion refers to motion or movement by the people involved in the process. 15 A shorter version, 3S, is something I use daily Sweep, Sort, Standardize. Helps keep a clean desk, empty inbox, and clutter free office. 16 Any reference to standardizing anything tends to be met with hostility, especially in regards to testing. But few truly understand what it actually means to standardize something, especially a process, program, or procedure. 17 Reducing production time, or takt time, creates more value for the customer, regardless of who that customer is.
5 18 from all processes, and the customer should set the requirements in all, or most cases. Lean focuses heavily on value added activities, and tries to ferret out the non value added activities, and either improve them, or more desirable, remove them from the process altogether. A value added activity adds value to the customer, and the customer really doesn t care about how much paperwork you have to file internally to get things done. Permissions, paperwork, sign offs, and unnecessary steps in internal workflows are ripe with improvement opportunities, but it s important to get stakeholder and process owner buy in, or better yet, have them accept ownership completely, and drive sustained improvement over time when improving any process. 19 Lean Six Sigma also offers tools in data collection, and analysis. As discussed earlier, starting with baseline data is key to understanding where the improvements are needed, and later to check how much the scales shifted one way or the other. Various methods are used to collect data, and the one being most effective practically is the gemba walk, where the improvement team visits the area to be improved in person, takes notes, records video, interviews process owners and operators, and collects as much data as they can in order to draw up an improvement plan. Going to gemba (a Japanese term) is key to understanding what actually happens, as it 20 doesn t rely on hearsay and other anecdotal evidence. Each part of the Green Belt training course offered challenges, and was filled with 21 real world examples of projects, data, and methods. The example of a restaurant was used throughout the entire course to accurately describe the full Green Belt project process, from start to finish. Each section was capped with an end of section exam, totalling up to the Certification in the end. I found myself incorporating more and more formal tools in what I was doing at work this spring, as opposed to doing it blindly, or without formal structure. Structures were presented to me, and I took full advantage of ideas, concepts, and methods. For example, our team worked on improving the summer maintenance for all computer and technology systems in the district, 18 Customer service is key to all organizations, and having open and honest discussions about what customer service actually means, and what the expectations are, is key to overall sustained success. 19 Some tools are simple, like gemba walks. Others, like regression charts, or correlation data matrices, are more advanced in nature. 20 Oftentimes, there is a big difference between what we say we do, and what we actually do. There are the stories we tell others, the stories we tell ourselves, and then what actually happens. 21 The Bahama Bistro, a tropical themed pizza joint with lots of problems.
6 and knew that if we had to touch at least 700 computers, we needed a better way to make sure each one was tested, certified as working, and ready to go for the fall. We decided to implement a checklist after discussions as to how best to achieve what we wanted, and knowing we d be working with a team of interns as well that had less experience in some areas like 22 troubleshooting and following procedures from memory. We created the checklist together, keeping in mind the process owners (us, and the interns) and tested out a few version to make sure it did what we wanted. Currently in the implementation stage, the checklists are now being used in each building, taped to each classroom door, with either our team or the intern team signing off on tasks, and reporting back each day on the progress made. We suspect the checklists will result in less demand for our services in the first days of 23 school (which was the goal from the start) as we will have made sure the computers work after other departments like maintenance have accessed rooms for carpet cleaning, etc. While we didn t follow all the steps for a typical improvement project, the idea was hatched, formulated, and refined using methods learned in the Green Belt course. Now that I have completed the course, I look forward to using the full skill set attained to drive change in other areas as well, including other departments where that may be needed. I would recommend anyone to engage with at least some level of Lean Six Sigma training (perhaps at the Yellow Belt level, which is less intense than Green and Black) in order to better understand key terminology, methods, and philosophy. It is my intent to form a Lean Team at Kenston, starting with training my team in the Yellow Belt course, and then building capacity from there. 22 Relying on memory is rarely a good choice for routine, or complicated procedures. Checklists are used exclusively in the operating room to make sure tools aren t forgotten inside patients, and when landing an airplane. 23 For the last two years, we have been steady at over 350+ request in the month of August. The goal is to reduce that by at least 50%, down to 175.