Students walking to class

February 2014

Staff Development Redesigns Course Offerings Structure

In January of 2013, a Lean team comprised of Kerri Dabbs, Becky Dysart, Deb Mulcahey, Kristin Taylor and Rachael Rude, from the Human Resources Staff Development Office, met to redesign the structure for course offerings. In the past, there had not been a standard procedure for who was responsible for the activities needed to launch a course. As the team evaluated the current process, the Lean members noticed that there was no standard process. At times, the wrong people were involved, causing rework, wait time and over-processing.

After months of granularly mapping out each of the courses, the team was able to redesign a future state that offers the optimal amount of efficiency including how to book rooms, send pre-work, house documents, build course registration in TRAIN, etc. Now, the right people are doing the right work at the right time. By implementing a redesigned process with very detailed standard work, the team was able to achieve a significant cost avoidance of $9,394. In addition to the financial savings, each staff person now has more time to focus on forward-thinking approaches aimed at enhancing services for the university community.

Using Lean Tools to Build the Enrollment Center Website

Before 1995, Miami University students had to walk across campus with multiple pieces of paper to do business with the scattered Offices of the Bursar, Registrar and Student Financial Aid (SFA). In 1995, the three offices were relocated to the Campus Avenue Building. Now, almost 20 years later, the Office of Enrollment Management is planning major changes to make access for students even easier. By creating the Enrollment Center Website, a ‘one stop’ electronic service center, enrollment services will be simpler and accessible from anywhere.

In December 2013, the Enrollment Center Steering Team created three Lean teams comprised of staff from the Offices of the Bursar, Registrar and Student Financial Aid. Using the MU-Lean process to define the current state of web content, representatives from each team held a Kaizen event to consolidate the current state content information and develop 'enhanced content' requirements that will be used by a website developer to create the new 'one stop' Enrollment Center Website. The steering team set a target date for completion of this project by the opening of Spring Semester 2014.

The aggressive timeline for the four projects required tight coordination among the three offices participating in the project along with staff from IT Services. The Bursar team was lead by Kerri Jackson with members Kris Cassano, Bruce McGee, Katie Jipson, Angeline Smith, Dawn Webber and Rachel Steck. The Registrar team was co-led by Duane Drake from IT Services and Mandy Euen from the Registrar with member Lora McCargish. The Student Financial Aid Team was co-led by Brian Henebry from IT Services and Katie Conrad from SFA with members Linsey Buehner, Jacqueline Hagerman, Brandi Lee, James Payne, and Megan Spanel. Dana Miller from IT Services and Emily Teach from SFA led the three day Enrollment Center Website Consolidation Kaizen Event which took place January 21-23. The Kaizen Team was composed of the leaders of the three Lean teams with the addition of Peter Haverkos, Meredith Smith and Jeff Pidcock.

The Kaizen event produced the following output that was presented to the Steering Team composed of Michael Kabbaz, Dave Sauter, Jen Herman, Kriss Cassano, Brent Shock and Al Ryan: 

  1. Determined EC Website Design Strategy based on topic.
  2. Determined Future State Content of EC Website based on topic.
  3. Created Draft Project Plan for EC Website to be completed by June 1, 2014.

While the Enrollment Center Kaizen event did not produce a process improvement quite yet, it did create momentum towards developing the EC Website and demonstrated that by using both the MU Lean process and a Kaizen event, needs for IT projects can be generated in a short amount of time while building collaborative relationships that will prove to be essential as IT projects move toward completion.

Lean Leaders Tour Toyota

Most of what is practiced as Lean manufacturing principles and tools have been developed over the years through Toyota—first in their plants in Japan and now here in the United States. On December 20, 2013, a group of Miami Lean leaders toured the Toyota Plant in Georgetown, Kentucky, the largest Toyota manufacturing plant outside of Japan. Each year in Georgetown, nearly 7,000 team members build approximately 500,000 vehicles and engines, using the Toyota Production System as the foundation for Lean principles.

This tour gave Lean leaders Al Ryan, George MacDonald, Brian Woodruff, Chris Pirigyi, Andrew Rosenberger, Stephen Van Winkle, Anne Wheeler, Rosanne Gulley, Cindy Lewis, Melanie Brunner, Jeff Pidcock, Dana Miller, and Jeremy Davis a chance to see Lean principles in action within a manufacturing environment from the company that created the original concepts. The team came away with new insights into the application of Lean principles and a fresh look at how to implement those principles within their own process improvement teams.