Thursday, April 11, 2019

ASG Gets Lean (not mean!)

Jack Jensen and the ASG team get ready to move mountains.
When the downstairs construction was slated to begin at Carruthers Hall, Local Support Partners Mike Hayton and Linda Estepp knew they had a challenge before them. Their cavernous office space downstairs was full of computer equipment, parts, repairs in progress, and new machines awaiting setup. It wasn't going to be easy, to say the least, to move all of their necessary items into a new, smaller, temporary space and still stay functional as a team providing service to UVAFinance.

Not only did they have to move to a smaller space, they had to do it on a condensed timeframe.

"Not only were we downsizing significantly and being further away from our storage space, we thought we had a whole month longer to make this move than what we had," says Estepp.

Luckily, Hayton and Estepp are members of the UVAFinance Administrative Services Group, so they had a supportive team to rally behind them and help with the move.
Lean methodology makes complicated processes easier.
Not only did they have their team members, they also had the power of Lean, in the form of Jack Jensen, Lean Six Sigma Green Belt extraordinaire, from Finance Outreach and Compliance. Jensen's job was to help the team develop a strategy for deciding how close they needed to keep specific types of equipment based on how often they needed to reference it.

Hayton says, "The lean methodology was a little like decluttering . . . we kind of 'Marie Kondo'd' our equipment."

With Jensen's lean tools and guidance, the ASG team rolled up their sleeves and dove into the process of organizing, categorizing, and moving the LSP team's equipment in a way that would streamline their work and creating an environment that was conducive to success. They were able to bring the right equipment with them to their new, temporary cube space, and they also created a cage storage area that was easy to navigate (even with a cart) and friendly to daily use.

Overall, this event made what could've been a cumbersome, exhausting mess, instead an opportunity to improve.

These type of events are referred to by Lean practitioners as "lean events," and they're one of the best examples of the immediate and tangible value produced when lean principles are applied to daily work.

Hayton and Estepp agreed that the process would've taken the two of them at least a week to accomplish, but with Jensen's help and the extra hands of their ASG teammates, the process only took about five hours.

"I've participated in, led, or facilitated many of these types of events in my previous life before UVA," says Judy DiVita, Director of Shared Services and leader of ASG, adding that this event was as good or better than many she'd experienced.

"This shows the power of the lean tools when coupled with a small group that can make rapid decisions and pull in needed sponsors and resources," she says.

What can Lean do for you and your team?

If you'd like to learn more about Lean, or just more about Continuous Improvement, UVAFinance has resources for you!

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