Faculty & Staff
March 5, 2013
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Volume 1, No. 1March 5, 2013
Welcome to Lean!    

From the Lean Steering Committee:
Craig Pearson, Kathy Brooks, Tom Hirsch, Dave Streid, Diana Rivera, and Stan Lamothe 

Dear Faculty and Staff,

We’re writing to tell you about some great developments with our ongoing LEAN initiative, including some great recent Lean successes and new online training software that’s available now to everyone.

In this Issue:

  • Purpose of Lean
  • New Online Training
  • Recent Lean Events — Housing
  • Recent Lean Events — ComPro
  • Embracing Change: An Interview with Lyle Nelson


Lean enables us to do less and accomplish more — streamline our processes, improve services, increase customer satisfaction, and build capacity for enrollment growth, and conserve resources.

And there's another side-benefit from Lean: people working with it get really inspired. They realize they have the power to create change, and they see these changes translating into better service and happier customers.

Last year we had a leading expert in Lean management come to campus and train 23 people to be “Lean facilitators”, including most of the Executive Committee as well as staff and faculty members, including younger staff.

If you're interested in learning more about Lean, please take the next step!


by Tom Hirsch, IT Director and Lean Facilitator

MUM faculty, staff, and students now have free and unlimited access to the Lean for Administration course, a comprehensive online Lean training course developed by Lean Ethos. Jimmy Sinton kindly assisted in this acquisition.

We are creating a Lean culture at MUM, so we encourage everyone to take advantage of this opportunity! This is now the first step in becoming a Lean Facilitator.

This highly interactive course with a menu structure allows you to work at your own pace and sequence. Once you’ve completed the course and obtained a 75% score for the final quiz you'll receive a certificate confirming your new status. This course has been offered at over 200 universities and is widely recognized in many industries.

You can access professional course through the campus network and take it in sections (the complete course takes 30-40 hours).

You don't need a user name or password. A menu button on the top opens an index on the left so you can navigate to any part of the course. We suggest you check out these sections:

  • Navigation  
  • Introduction
  • Office waste
  • Elements, rules, tools of Lean

This is a great resource tool for current and future Lean Facilitators and anyone interested in discovering and applying Lean principles to their area.

We hope you enjoy this course!


Over the past couple of months we have had two formal Lean Events:

HOUSING OFFICE - Streamlining room reservations, preparations, and assignments
Facilitators: Kathy Brooks and Diana Rivera

This LEAN Event gathered managers from all the departments that coordinate student housing: the Housing Office, Custodial Services, Maintenance, Residential Life, and the Chief Administrative Officer.

We started by mapping out the current process for new and continuing students. The discussions were animated and everyone took part actively. We met all morning for five days in a row, but had such momentum that we continued for two more days. There were many AHA! moments, and everyone recognized areas that need more formal structure and streamlined communications.

“Just meeting together with people from different departments was great,” said Graham Torpey, Associate Dean of Students. “We all bonded, and that by itself is going to improve the process.”

The result: After the Lean event in December, the team has continued to do smaller breakout sessions to follow up on recommendations. A major restructuring of this area is underway. The main emphasis is twofold: creating a Housing Application/Reservation procedure and improving coordination and inter-departmental communication and record-keeping for dorm inspections. 

COMPRO - Streamlining exam taking for distance education students

Facilitators: Steve Totino and Elaine Pomfrey 

The Computer Professionals program has 114 students enrolled on campus and 583 students doing their curricular practical training in companies around the US while completing their degree by distance education (DE). For each course they take via DE they take a final exam, just as with on-campus courses. The exams have to be proctored — someone has to ensure that students are taking the exams properly. 

Proctoring exams all over the U.S. is a huge undertaking, which made this process ideally suited for a Lean Event. The COMPRO DE staff worked with the facilitators during 4 days and came up with 18 short-term and 12 long-term recommendations for streamlining.

The department has started to allocate staff time to follow up on the Lean recommendations. They are adding new site proctors to their approved list for major cities with large number of Compro DE students. They are also encouraging the proctors to set up online advance payment options to accommodate our students.

Biran Saine, the new Compro Distance Education Director, commented:

“I had the privilege of taking quite a number of Lean classes in my MBA program and had been applying those principles in my daily activities. Thus, I was quite comfortable with Lean before these sessions. However, due to the approach taken during the Lean sessions, we were able to brainstorm on lots of issues that bother the Compro DE exam processes. The recommendations we were able to generate from these sessions speak volumes on the possible improvements of the Compro DE Exam proctoring processes. I hope by the time all these recommendations are implemented, the efficiency of our DE exam processes will have been greatly enhanced.” 

EMBRACING CHANGE: An Interview with Lyle Nelson, Interlibrary Loan Director
by Diana Rivera, Associate Director of LEAN Implementation

The Interlibrary Loan (ILL) Office held a LEAN Event last spring to upgrade their paper-based processes using computer-based tools such as EXCEL spreadsheets and online data backups. An electronic system would ensure more timely and accurate data management as well as offer better customer service to the MUM community.  This event was facilitated by Dr. David Streid and counted with the participation of Martin Schmidt, Susanne Aras-Vesely, and Lyle Nelson.

As ILL Director, Lyle was ultimately responsible for learning and implementing new procedures while phasing out the ones he has been working with over the past 13 years. Lyle graciously agreed to share his experience with us and offered a few pointers on how to successfully navigate a LEAN Implementation and the changes that accompany it:

Diana – How did you initially react when you found out your area would undergo a LEAN analysis?

Lyle – “I was interested and found it to be a useful idea. I knew that LEAN had been proven to improve work processes that result in greater worker and customer satisfaction in other institutions. Consequently, I realized the procedural changes we adopted at our Lean meetings should result in overall improvements in interlibrary loan. But when I got into it I became a little insecure and a bit attached to the process I knew. Sometimes I would feel frustrated."

Diana – How did you overcome these feelings?

Lyle – “I gave it more time and really owned the process. I feel it paid off. Also, I was concerned about migrating to a paperless system. I felt insecure about losing data but we started using Dropbox (an online file hosting service) as a backup, which gave me comfort."

Diana – Have you been able to quantify or see tangible results from the LEAN implementation?”

Lyle – “Absolutely. I feel that the process overall takes less time because you are doing most of the processes right on the computer. One benefit is that I see less misfiles.’”

Diana – What advice would you give to your colleagues who will or may already be in the middle of a LEAN implementation?

Lyle – “Give the process time to work. At the beginning of adapting LEAN you are accustomed to the old processes, so naturally you may resist the change. Institute the changes and, through practice, become familiar and comfortable with them. Later, make the necessary adjustments for any processes that you think may need refinement. Persevere, give it time. In the end you are going to like your job better.”  (end)


  • Do you want to learn LEAN Techniques you can apply in your office? Check out our LEAN Tutorials
  • Would you like to bring LEAN to your office and have a project in mind? Please email lean@mum.edu for more details.
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