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UW Finance

Our Approach

Key Program Differences

An Action-Oriented Approach

The table below shows the typical differences between the approach utilized by UW Lean and the approach of other higher education institutions. For more information about higher education benchmarks and our approach, download our case study “Transforming Higher Ed.”

  UW Lean Approach Traditional Higher Ed Approach
Improvement Daily (events to teach concepts, principles, tools) Event-based
Who Solves Problems? Every staff member Six sigma/expert model
Who Owns Solutions? Team members Project manager
What's Next? Mature management systems Train more experts
Teaching Start with action (immediately putting systems & tools to use) Teach tools (up to teams & experts to use)
Ideas Right-sized problem solving (emphasize capturing all ideas and improving ease of implementation) A3 methodology
Tools Tools to improve systems and solve problems specific to the work group Flavor of the month
Leadership Sets direction and enables teams to take action Top-down
Lean Improving the work, is the work Additional to work

Four Key Systems

Below is the model that UW Lean uses as the center of its approach to develop a culture of team-based daily improvement. It focuses on engaging team members, establishing the 4 Key Systems for their teams, and then maturing those systems over time. Additional information on this model and more examples of the work done by UW’s teams can be found in the Shingo Award winning book, “Own the Gap.”

four components of team based daily kaizen culture: strategy deployment, visual management, daily kaizen, standard follow-up

Strategy Deployment

  • Sets, clarifies, and aligns goals to the team level
  • Answers: “What does it mean to win as a team?”

Visual Management

  • Enables the team to see opportunities for improvement
  • Answers: “Are we on track or not?”

Daily Kaizen

  • Engages everyone through daily team-based problem solving
  • Answers: “If we are off-track, what do we do about it?”

Standard Follow-Up:

  • Establishes a rhythm of closed-loop follow-up and leadership support
  • Answers: “How can I help you win more often?”

Launch Coaching

200+ improvement events

3 Day Launch — Get the Team Started!

  • Project scoping
  • Targeted goal aligned to the organization's strategy (50% improvement target is standard)
  • Identification of major issues in current state
  • Creation of desired future state
  • Action plan for 90 days

90 Day Coaching — Help the Team Take Action!

  • Baseline
  • Follow up on action plan
  • Help team to reflect and adjust
  • Escalate issues for leadership support
  • Document results
  • Establish a basis for continuous improvement

Continuous Improvement Coaching

93 teams coached monthly
43 teams coached quarterly or as needed
100,000+ employee ideas implemented

Monthly Coaching

"Improving the work, is the work." Monthly coaching helps teams identify strategic opportunities and achieve sustained business results.

  • Set strategy and ensure goals are aligned, meaningful, and actionable
  • Review progress towards goals and improve ability to identify trends and issues
  • Create action plans
  • Standardize follow up
  • Document business results
  • Provide leadership coaching
  • Establish and improve a management system
  • Address team dynamics
  • Standardize processes

Our Case Study

Thank you for your interest in Lean. Please feel free to contact us with questions, coaching requests, or if you would like to put together a launch.

Download our award-winning case study for free to learn more about our approach!

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