Lean Six Sigma is About Focusing Key Resources and Achieving Your Core Mission

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAColumbus State University’s new Center for Professional Solutions continues service to the corporate community in Columbus as it prepares to host its second event in a series of Lean Six Sigma (LSS) workshops. The Green Belt Certification will be offered December 2,3 and 8-10 at Columbus State University’s Elizabeth Bradley Turner Center. This next step in the LSS methodology is a follow-up to September’s LSS Yellow Belt Certification. Both workshops are offered in partnership with Riverwood Associates, an Atlanta-based company that provides operational training and consulting to organizations working to improve performance levels.

Lean Six Sigma offers a powerful methodology and set of tools for improving business processes. Many organizations have adopted the LSS model — manufacturing, service, healthcare and government — to significantly improve their bottom line and customer experience.

The Senior Director of Project Management and Technology Operations for the Muscogee County School District (MCSD), Mr. Ron Pleasant, spoke to us about his experience. Pleasant was familiar with Six Sigma going in to the Yellow Belt certification workshop but not with Lean techniques. He wanted new tools to assist with his work, and the training he received has enabled him to achieve this goal.

Pleasant left the workshop with a firm understanding of LSS tools and concepts. Additionally, he was provided with information that allowed him to translate the skills he learned into his everyday work. Mr. Pleasant’s team uses a DMAIC-like (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) framework to aid in measuring progress and prioritizing effort. This Lean Six Sigma framework provides a closed loop system for ensuring that everyone understands the objectives and can measure success.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen asked how he has been able to incorporate the Lean Six Sigma principles into everyday use, Pleasant replied, “I use the ‘5 whys’ technique to get to the root cause of production issues almost daily. Using this technique, we can quickly strip away issues that are really symptomatic but not truly the cause. It also helps me develop my team because we can use the same tool to ensure we have the right goal in mind in our project work.”

Ron Pleasant believes this Lean Six Sigma training is an important step in optimizing support processes allowing an organization to take very limited resources and focus them on the core mission. “In fact,” Pleasant said, “I have proposed that all senior leadership (in the MCSD) should be trained and familiar with the Lean Six Sigma techniques and tools. I am excited to say that our Superintendent has supported this idea and is looking forward to building this capability within our leadership ranks.”

A variety of organizations—manufacturing, service, healthcare and government—participated in the Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt Certification in September. One participant from the service sector was Carolyn Matthews, an AML/BSA Compliance Examiner in the banking industry. Ms. Matthews will also be attending the Green Belt Certification training in December.

When asked about her workshop experience, Matthews replied, “The most enjoyable aspect of the (Lean Six Sigma) training was the opportunity to work through each stage of the DMAIC process with such a diverse group of individuals. The training venue was arranged so that participants were grouped at tables of 6 to 8 individuals from differing organizations. This setup ensured that a diverse mixture of industry backgrounds and skill sets would work together to solve random problems, further enforcing the dynamic application of Lean Six Sigma.”

Pleasant and Matthews both agree that trainer Peter Sherman from Riverwood Associates does an excellent job of applying examples of LSS principles across all industries in an insightful way. The workshop participants also believe their prospective employers have benefited. Matthews explains, “I would recommend this training to any individual or company who is looking for a way to increase efficiency and profitability within their organization. Lean Six Sigma gives you the tools to more accurately define ‘true’ issues and implement solutions that produce the desired result the first time around.”

Information about the Green Belt program can be found online at www.riverwoodassociates.com.

For 40 years, the Columbus State Division of Continuing Education has served as the center for lifelong learning by providing innovative educational training and personal enrichment opportunities for students, businesses and community partners in Columbus, Georgia area.

The Center for Professional Solutions is a new service of Columbus State University’s Division of Continuing Education that focuses on performance improvement through consultation and training to the Columbus, GA region. The core offerings of the Center for Professional Solutions include Lean Six Sigma, project management, outsourcing contracts, labor issues and risk management, contract law and intellectual property for the business manager. In addition, the center provides information technology and business intelligence consultation and training in partnership with Columbus State’s IT Innovation Center.

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