Chinook School Division Embracing Lean

Chinook School Division Embracing Lean Education SouthWest Saskatchewan  Chinook School Division

The Chinook School Division held their first Lean Initiative event last month. Lean is a process that aims to eliminate and minimize unnecessary tasks that are performed everyday by employees.

“We polled the staff initially to identify what problem areas could be in our organization and a number of things were brought up,” said Division Payroll Administrator Shaunna Lacher. “So we kind of grouped everything into common areas and we decided to look at our filing processes, the order, shipping and receiving processes, and then compiled that into a piece about the traffic flow around our building.”

She is hoping this process will lead to the continuous improvement throughout the division.

Lacher made a presentation to the school board at the last school division meeting about the lean event and said their ultimate goal is to create a culture of continuous improvement throughout Chinook.

“Well basically the presentation was just a brief overview of the VFM event we did in our organization,” said Lacher. “It was our first example of a lean event in Chinook and we wanted to share with the board some of the outcomes of the process and some of the things we’ve achieved in this process. ”

The Ministry of Education jointly sponsored the event with Chinook School Division by providing a facilitator to conduct a Value Stream Mapping (VSM) process and guide the team. Prior to this, employees attended Lean Training sessions offered by the Ministry, and three Lean Leaders were chosen to participate in training and certification in order to run future events and support the Lean philosophy throughout Chinook.

An employee survey highlighted a number of issues, and the team recommended three main areas to focus on at CEC: 1) developing a standardized process for filing; 2) processes and protocols for ordering and receiving; and 3) parking and traffic flow. “We expect a number of positive results from the changes that are already being implemented, for example more efficient use of space in CEC,” said Board Chair Randy Beler, “That goal includes decreasing file duplication by 36% and reducing common file storage space from 1,000 square feet down to zero. A major benefit will be improved employee satisfaction and communication, which results in improved services.”

The team is implementing a continuous improvement plan, and other issues will be addressed on an ongoing basis through sub-committees or “Kaizen” events. This will include a Green initiative, as well as simplifying tasks, making work processes more efficient and constantly improving quality.

Director Liam Choo-Foo is looking forward to improving services and time management and expects the Lean Leaders to continue this philosophy over the next few years, now that a successful event has been piloted. “This is about finding ways for us to be able to do the job we are supposed to by eliminating all the extraneous and wasteful activities,” Liam explained, “Being Lean causes us to try to find ways to do things more efficiently and look for solutions so that we can continuously improve and create value for Chinook staff, students and families.”

via Local News

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