“One of the things I enjoyed the most as a graduate student was the constant generation of new ideas, often sparked in class, about how to make meaningful changes to the work I was doing. Now that I am done with my MBA, being part of the 2020 Vision project training helped me to keep thinking of things to be improved in my daily work and on a bigger scale with college-wide operations. I have a whole notepad page of ideas that came up just during training, alone. It’s easy to get into the ‘this is how it has always been done’ mindset especially after doing certain things for a while. The 2020 Vision project and the work the team is doing is a reminder to keep thinking about how we can all make UST even better.”
I was a member of the original 2020 Vision Task Force created in March 2010 to look at the future of Opus College of Business. Our mission was to identify assets and find ways to better utilize and strengthen them. Here is a quote from those meeting minutes, “Therefore the purpose of the 2020 Vision Task Force was to research and make recommendations for OCB to make us more efficient in our use of resources.”
One of the first projects identified as clear and fixable was the OCB use of printers and copiers. The goals of this project were first to identify all MFDs (multifunction devices) and printers in use by OCB and second to reduce total printing costs. Working with IRT, a group of staff visited each department and mapped out the location of all printers and copiers. MARCO representatives did an assessment of all UST owned or leased equipment to make sure that we had the right machines in the right locations to meet the needs of all faculty and staff. Recommendations were made for changes and the remainder of the MFD changes will be made in summer 2014 when leases come up for renewal. OCB will no longer purchase printer cartridges for individually owned printers.
We then looked at individual printer usage. In fall 2012, a copy request form was created in our Intranet site (SharePoint) and faculty were encouraged to use that form to send copy requests to their department coordinators. The coordinators determined the appropriate copy method. OCB usage numbers were posted near all copiers and printers and everyone was encouraged to reduce costs by choosing not to print or by printing everything two-sided. All printers and MFDs are to be set with duplex printing as the default. If your printer/MFD doesn’t default to duplex when printing, please let us know.
“My department, Graduate Records and Data Management, made the decision some time ago to go paperless. Not an easy task. I input data for hundreds of Graduation Applications every year and used to print these and keep them in four large binders at my desk. Working with IRT, we found a way to perform the very same function online. . . without paper. Paperless has worked quite well for a year and I don’t anticipate problems in the future.”
The 2020 Vision team is growing! We would like to introduce our newest team members. After the introduction and training seminars, they are ready to join our quarterly meetings and dig into the number of continuous improvement projects. Each member will bring unique attributes from numerous departments within the Opus College of Business. Join us in welcoming them to the team!
Tanisha Andrews Evening MBA Administration
Tiffany Cork Evening and Full Time Recruit & Admissions
Susan Eckstein Evening MBA Recruit & Admissions
Clark Gregor OCB Marketing Activities
Hannah Hedegard Full-Time MBA Recruit & Admissions
DeAnn Kautzmann OCB Grad Record & Data Management
Jessica Kluntz MS Degree in Real Estate
Alexandra Lapides Evening MBA Student Life
Keith Pille OCB Technology and Web
Susan Thoma Full-Time MBA Recruit & Admissions
“The 2020 Vision project kicked-off some much needed process discussions within the Health Care UST MBA team and played a part in supporting our current pilot project introducing Salesforce to the Health Care team within the Opus College of Business. It has been helpful to take a close look at our current processes and to explore how things can be done better–both more efficiently and resulting in better outcomes.”
The work that has been done to date has made a huge difference to the way that we approach projects in the Opus College of Business. We are more thoughtful about making decisions, and more thorough, when we look at those projects through a process lens. I’ve been really pleased with the way our 2020 Vision project in support of improving the way we manage faculty profile pages on our web site has gone; it’s been collaborative, thoughtful, and thorough. We’ve managed to separate the process problems from the technology needs and will have a more effective publishing process as the result, which will require less time to manage, and will better showcase our faculty.
Also, I’m finding that having a set of people with a similar understanding of how to break down a problem or challenge within the college has had a subtle but significant impact on day-to-day work that we do. It’s been a great experience to be part of the OCB 2020 Vision effort; while I’ve done work with project and process management for some time, I always learn something new from Dr. John Olson in our ongoing workshops; he has great examples from his consulting and teaching that help me to look at what I’m doing from a fresh perspective.
Six Sigma Green Belt training and continuous improvement is a journey. When I began that journey, I had no idea where it would take me. The multiple benefits from what started as a week of Six Sigma Green Belt training were unexpected.
The training lets you see things around you in a different way. Room for improvement almost always exists. It is gratifying and rewarding to see where a project can lead. It’s a bit like a mystery tour; the end result can be somewhat surprising and turn out to be completely different than what you expected.
Since the Six Sigma training and the experience I gained from working on several projects, a new world has opened up for me professionally. If you have the training, the necessary tools, and a mentor, the transition from learner to leader is natural.
Furthering our education through training and earning certifications is within our reach here at OCB. These opportunities can help us to grow and expand our goals. This is an awesome benefit of our employment.
I strongly encourage participating in the Six Sigma Green Belt Training and working with the Continuous Improvement group in the Opus College of Business. The training is interesting and fun; the support system for working on projects is very good; and the work is enjoyable and challenging; and you may be interested in learning more. That was my experience.
This past spring, I completed the Six Sigma Green Belt certification and I’m currently enrolled in a Project Management certification course in August. We have so many opportunities for professional growth here in the Opus College of Business. It is just a matter of becoming involved in a project that interests you and forging ahead. Who knows where it can take you!
Get involved. Make a difference.
A new session of 2020 Six Sigma Continuous Improvement training will be held August 19-22, 9am – 1pm. Lunch will, of course, be provided. Contact Amy Klein to sign up.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 2-4611.
We have embarked on a 20/20 Vision initiative. Perhaps, a little hindsight might provide a useful perspective. “Six sigma” is the term applied to the concept of reducing errors by improving processes. It is the foundation of our 20/20 Vision initiative.
You may be familiar with six sigma’s predecessors such as:
- MBO – Management By Objectives (Drucker 1954)
- TQM – Total Quality Management (Juran et al. 1980’s)
Operationally, six sigma seeks to improve the quality of process outputs by identifying and removing the causes of defects (errors) and minimizing variability in manufacturing and business processes.
Statistically the goal is to have all output within plus or minus six standard deviations on a normal bell curve. In simple terms that is 3.4 defects per 1 million. The mathematical symbol for a standard deviation is the Greek letter sigma (Ϭ). This is the origin of the term six sigma. Ok, that is a bit technical. Just think of it as getting rid of wasted effort, time and material – i.e., no “fat” in the organization. For this reason you may hear it referred to as “lean six sigma.”
The concept has its roots in post-World War II Japan. With the United States emerging as the only industrialized nation with an intact manufacturing base, it was hard for progressive management thinkers like Edward Deming to sell the total quality concept of “if it ain’t broke, make it better” to U.S. manufacturers who had a corner on the international market using existing management theories. However, Deming and others found willing converts in Japan whose industrial base had been decimated by the war. Through the efforts of Taiichi Ohno and Shigeo Shingo the Toyota production system emerged. It was based on:
- Flexible continuous production of small batches
- Minimization of all waste
- “Doing it right the first time”
This resulted in reduced setup times and inventory buffers. In simple terms – more bang from the manufacturing buck. One of the worldwide legacies is the use of Japanese terms in 20/20 vision six sigma based projects for some simple concepts. But don’t let that dissuade you – we all want to do it right the first time with minimum effort and cost.
Thomas Jefferson said “If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.” That is what we are doing with 20/20 vision. As John McCall put it “Our goal was to start slowly, learn the discipline and tools of the continuous improvement process, take on some small projects to build confidence and prepare ourselves to handle any challenge that comes our way.”
My next post will be on why visualizing (using pictures to support qualitative data) six sigma is a key to progress.
If you would like to discuss six sigma further…let me know.