CI and UCC Staff
CI and UCC Staff
- How will this initiative affect me?
- How will it impact my department?
- Is this a potential threat or eventual benefit relative to job security?
- Will there be a role to play? What is it?
- We are already stretched thin – where will we find the time for this?
- Are there career advantages to participating in Continuous Improvement?
Being involved in adopting Lean principles and practices should hopefully bring you personal satisfaction from having meaningful involvement in workplace improvements.
The new skills and experience acquired by leading or participating in a Lean project will enable you to grow professionally and personally.
By working together on special projects, you will develop a stronger work ethic and overall better and more cohesive work environment.
It can provide you with the opportunity to learn more about what your fellow employees do every day, which will help build a better social environment.
Without changing the way we do our work, even without considering the additional pressures of the current financial climate, we will be unable to maintain our success, and our competitive edge. The University is not alone in using Lean or other similar process improvement approaches. Many universities across the globe are now implementing large-scale change programmes aimed at reviewing their processes and developing a culture of continuous improvement
Lean is “common sense uncommonly applied”. Implementing Lean continuous improvement will reduce or eliminate some, several, or all of administrative waste in your department. Applying Lean principles and practices should greatly reduce administrative inefficiencies and bottlenecks and help to improve information flow which often remains stagnant, causing unnecessary delays.
Lean has three main goals:
• Culture Change – to create a drive and appetite for continuous improvement.
• Effectiveness – to ensure that all business processes meet existing and emerging needs.
• Efficiency – to maximise the use of all resources in the delivery of services.
Its aims to improve:
• Customer Experiences/Outcomes – Students, staff and external stakeholders
• Improved Staff Morale
• Reduced costs
• Internal Communication & co-operation
Participation in problem solving, elimination of excess processing, and decision-making empowerment all lead to a more fulfilled workforce. Lean improvements are in no way intended to reduce headcount. Adopting Lean is intended to help you to eliminate waste, to work smarter and to free up time to work on more value added tasks/projects.
Our staff are our greatest asset. It is, after all, the staff of the university who, in our experience, know what works well and what needs to be improved, and who have the ability to suggest and make the necessary improvements. You can start to become Lean by thinking about your work and how it can be made better. Making improvements to your area may involve other staff in your School/Department/Unit, or staff across the university, whose own work either has an effect on your activity, or who may be affected by your activity. Staff taking part in Lean projects say that good communication is key to implementing changes and making those changes stick. If you have a good idea, take it to your Head of School/Department/Unit in the first instance.
The question that needs to be asked is - are you stretched thin working on the 'Right' things?
Whatever approach taken, diversity and independence of thought are vital to bring about innovative solutions, and prevent bias. There are many things we can do to make time for continuous improvement. We first have to want to do so and then experiment with ways to take advantage of downtime or create time in our busy days. We might not have time every single day to focus on continuous improvement, but if we look for it, it’s actually often there. The time spent on effective CI activities should be viewed as an investment in future quality and future productivity. How can you free up time? Can you cancel that one weekly meeting that takes up two hours for no apparent purpose? Can you find ways to reduce unnecessary email and work activities? There are many things we can do to make time for continuous improvement. Generating ideas for improvement can be a challenge. Investing time in thinking about new ways of working is often seen as a chore. However, with the right people, properly directed, this is key to process improvement.
Lean certification training is a smart idea for any employee. Not only do you learn some excellent techniques for improving your work processes, but also you develop abilities that are highly portable from your current role. You can benefit greatly from Lean certification training. The department of staff welfare and development are currently offering certified Lean training programs at White, Yellow and Green belt level. All staff are eligible to complete the white belt training however participants must be nominated to register for the yellow or green belt programs through their relevant UMTO member.
To find out more about the Lean training available to staff, see our Training section.