Monday, September 30, 2013

LEAN in Education

Colleges and institutes of higher learning have been faced with the same economic challenges the rest of the country has seen. Over the past few years, there has been increased pressure to create and sustain a more market driven environment. There are several suggestions in the 2011 Diamond Report on how these institutions can adopt a LEAN approach and ensure their survival.

Showing educational establishments how they can improve and increase collaborative arrangements with the effective flow of information is the main goal of LEAN projects.

Integration is Key

The private sector has benefited from LEAN concepts since as far back as the 14th century. These concepts include, continuous improvement, Standard of working, Value Stream Analysis, flow and pull. As with many things proven useful over the years these concepts were first used in military operations for the production of warships, reducing the fire time during a broadside encounter and interchangeable weapons parts.

Be Unique-Promote with CDR Business Cards

In business, if you don’t leave a lasting impression on a prospective client, you’ll fall into obscurity in their never ending list of contacts. Because of that, it is imperative you avoid settling for being just another printed business card. CDR business cards allow you to embrace the changing realm of technology, while giving you that unique edge to impress.

This begins by addressing the problems that a traditional business card has. When dealing with traditional paper cards, you are limited on the amount of space you have to work with. In many cases, all you can place is your business name and contact information. Without more to go on, if the client doesn’t remember you, then you’ve wasted your time, your card won’t do a thing for them.

With a CDR business card, you actually end up having an edge. Not only will your customer have a chance to remember what you offer, but promotional tools on this disc is going to help to further advance your business. If for some reason a business you are leaving your information with doesn’t have the ability to utilize the CDR business cards, a website link on the front of the card can give them access to the same information. However, since most computers have dual trays, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Lean Frog Green Belt Certification Program

Led by Master Six Sigma certified CEO Byron Headrick, LEAN Frog offers their own Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certification to public school administrators and their staff in Huntsville and elsewhere throughout Alabama. The program is designed to help public education professionals develop solutions to the challenges unique to their industry. LEAN Frog’s new certification program will be rolled out this summer and will offer an in-depth education in the Lean Six Sigma approach as well as training in its practical applications. The program is intended to provide school administrators with the skill set needed to come up with novel solutions to improve operations as well as educational outcomes, while working to address issues as they arise through an ongoing process of improvement. LEAN Frog is already well known statewide for their work with the Huntsville City School District as well as several others around the state. Perhaps most notably, the Huntsville City School District has been able to save more than seven million dollars by using the Lean Six Sigma methodology.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

LEAN Frog Has Appreciation for Teachers, Do You?

This week is dedicated to appreciating teachers. All of us need to spend enough time to think about our experiences with the people responsible for filling us with knowledge. Byron Headrick is my name and I want to share some of my memories of my education through grade school in a rural area of Alabama. My experiences during these years had a huge impact on my life over the years and even today.

In 1990, I completed my K-12 education at Section High School in Jackson County located in Alabama. During my elementary years, my B to C grades, were constantly compared to the A to B grades of my sister by my parents. I have a strong recollection of the frustration during this time that caused less than favorable results at times. Mr. Dukes, my math teacher in sixth grade, was the first to recognize something was wrong. He was puzzled over the fact that I understood the information, as it was presented, only to grade poorly on the written tests. He bent the rules to allow me to take some of the tests verbally that seemed to improve my scores. My English teacher in the seventh grade, Ms. Howard, discovered I suffered from a slight learning disability. There were not the same special classes or tutoring back then in rural Alabama, as there are today. Mr. Howard and my mother discussed my problem and worked with me on it. This increased my typical B to C grades up to A through C grades.

During the ninth grade at school, Ms. Hughes, my science teacher connected science, physics and math in better way than other teachers ever had. Her inspiration made me develop a genuine interest in these subjects, and I went on to win the Science Project Competition that year with genetic college-level experiment involving fruit flies.

Because I had the learning disability, the school counselors recommended that I go to Technical School, as they did not feel college would be an ideal fit for me. I was still able to study math, physics, and science on an advanced level in Technical School. I studied mechanical design and drafting, when I attended Jackson County Technical School. Mr. Armstrong was my teacher. He taught technical skills pertaining to mechanical design and drafting to my class and more. This teacher also taught leadership skills to the class in hopes that my fellow classmates and I would strive for quality with anything we do. My grade averages ranged from A to B. I qualified for college scholarships, graduated and even won awards in such things as public speaking, essay writing and more on the county level, along with state level.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Time To Kill The Suggestion Box

Is there a suggestion box where employees can place their ideas for improvements? Is it working for you? Are there ever any great ideas added to this box? Have you ever done anything with any of the ideas put in there?

What is sad about suggestion box programs is that they generally fail miserably, and even worse than that they can work the opposite of what they were intended to do. Instead of being a way to energize employees, these programs often turn into something that produces lack of motivation. Now, are you wondering if there is something better you can do?

There is! You can set up a Visual Improvement Idea System.

With Lean processes, visual programs are installed where employees can quickly review and follow up on the status of projects. They also have built in accountability which produces better results. This same kind of process can be incorporated into employee suggestion programs. you will generate a greater number of better ideas, and your employees are more likely to buy into those that are adopted as well as get them completed.

This involves four simple steps. The only things you need are adhesive sticky notes and a white board. Divide the white board into four sections. Those sections should be named, “New Ideas”, “Waiting To Do”, “In Process,” and “Completed.” Some people go a little farther with a fifth section called, “Late.” When your board is ready, walk your employees through the following steps.

1. Have people write their new ideas on the sticky notes and place them in the “New Ideas” section.

2. A couple of times a week go through the new ideas. When you find ideas that show promise, move them to the “Waiting To Do” section. When you find ideas that do not meet the standards for workable suggestions, put your name on the back with the reason it is being rejected and deliver it to the employee who submitted it. Spend some time with them explaining why the idea is not worth pursuing at the present time. You should try not to reject many of the suggestions that come in. some good reasons for rejecting ideas would be that they have nothing to do with the business, there are no resources with which to implement them or they are in conflict with other projects.

3. On a weekly basis or as funding or time come available, move workable ideas further on the board to “In Process” and talk with someone about completing it. Writer that persons name on the stick note and allow them time to do the work. Never exceed available resources when assigning projects.

4. Each time ideas are put to use, move that sticky note to the “Completed” section. Leave it there for a few weeks to allow employees to get a look at the way ideas are being done. Be sure to thank the employee who submitted the suggestion as well as the one that implemented it.

A rewards system can be set in place to help encourage employees to participate. One good idea might be having a company pizza party lunch when everyone has had the opportunity to implement one of the ideas. Some employees will feel so good that they were able to contribute something positive to the company that they may feel that seeing their ideas implemented will be enough reward for them. This way you will have effectively eliminated that suggestion box that sat there full of unused ideas and in turn you will get a living, breathing system that gets results.

Lean Frog Blogging

We are working on creating a secondary blog to discuss relative issues that Lean Frog deals with in Huntsville, Alabama.

Why Lean Frog? The frog is a symbol of abundance. In China, the three-legged toad was the storied pet of the Chinese god of wealth. This toad is a symbol for riches, and is often pictured with a gold coin in its mouth.

 LEAN Frog represents the transformation of companies and schools into more prosperous organizations through the application of Lean philosophy.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Huntsville Superintendent, Board Bring in LEAN Frog

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -- Superintendent Casey Wardynski and the Huntsville school board on Saturday took another step toward a drastic reorganization of the city school system by approving the contracts of several outside consultants who will oversee district business operations on a temporary basis.
The consultants were hired in a special Saturday session so they will be in place by Thursday's board meeting.

The board also approved a contract with Lean Frog, a Huntsville-based business solutions firm owned by Byron Headrick, one of the consultants who reviewed the district's business practices. Headrick will work with the district through the end of the fiscal year -- and be paid a maximum of $152,000 -- to help develop its new business practices.