Process Evaluation and Improvement

What We Do

Business Process Analysis

Business Process Analysis (BPA) can be accomplished using a varies of tools and techniques.  At the heart of it, the exercises are structured interviews with small groups of individuals who have intimate knowledge on how the current process works.

Process Evaluation and Improvement can work with you to define your goals and the best approach to take based on the anticipated outcomes.

Process Mapping

Process Mapping is a lean tool that employs a flow diagram documenting in detail every step of a process. Many lean practitioners see process mapping (or value stream mapping) as the fundamental tool to identify waste (non value added activities), reduce process cycle times, and implement process improvement.

Process Evaluation and Improvement would be love to work with you to detail your process. This can be also be accomplished as a part of one of our other problem solving tools, like business process analysis or a kaizen event. Please contact us at peiadmins@kent.edu and we can discuss how process mapping can help you and your department.

Root Cause Analysis

This is the process of investigating and identifying the deeper causes contributing to an issue.

In identifying root causes, a team will be able to:

  • Gather input from all stakeholders, creating a complete picture of the problem
  • Evaluate all possible causes in a thorough, systematic way
  • Identify the problems causing the highest impact
  • Develop specific solutions targeted to each problem

Useful tools to identify root causes:

  • Cause & Effect (Fishbone Diagram) - categorizes common causes; this is ideal for collecting input from many stakeholders and displaying visually
  • 5 Why Technique - asks "Why" multiple times until a root cause is identified; one of the simplest and most effective tools to use

Process Evaluation and Improvement can facilitate these conversations and exercises, and provide your team with the resulting documentation. Contact us at peiadmins@kent.edu.

Kaizen

What is Kaizen?

Kai: To take apart
Zen: To make better

The term “Kaizen” roughly translates into “change for better”.  A Kaizen Event is a cross-functional working session designed to be an intensive 1 to 3 day focus on one specific area.  It is used to quickly implement process improvements with focused working team involvement. A Kaizen Event can be a stand-alone working session or may be scheduled as part of a larger project.   

Kaizen Exercises

The PE&I office facilitates these events to accomplish the following objectives:

  • Make concrete improvements to an existing process.
  • Bring new problem-solving skills to individuals on the working team.
  • Build enthusiasm by achieving results quickly. 
  • Develop ownership for the solution through involvement.

If your area is interested in discussing the benefits of holding a Kaizen event, please contact us a peiadmins@kent.edu.

5S Methodology

What is 5S?

5S description

5S is a lean philosophy and a way of organizing and maintaining a clean, high-performance office environment.  The intent of the 5S method is to improve efficiency by eliminating waste. If you are interested in learning more or having the Process Evaluation and Improvement team facilitate a 5S exercise for your department please contact us at peiadmins@kent.edu.

Sort  

  • Getting rid of items that are not needed (paper or electronic files, emails, etc.)
  • Arranging often-used items in your work area
  • Discussing how to sort shared spaces with others (physical spaces or virtual spaces, e.g. SharePoint)
  • This step helps to eliminate waste that results from being disorganized, and can also help to reduce unwanted duplication or redundancy.

Straighten (Set in Order)  

  • Having a place for everything, and everything in its place
  • Putting essential items in order so you can easily access them when you are ready
  • Having a designated place for the often used/shared items
  • Ensuring shared items are kept in a central location, and the location is communicated to all team members that require access
  • This step makes commonly used items more convenient to access, and helps to eliminate waste by reducing the time spent looking for items.  

Shine  

  • Looking for different ways to keep things clean and organized
  • Visual inspection of work areas
  • Creating a cleaning schedule to assign responsibilities
  • This step helps to improve safety and accountability throughout the office.  Additionally, it can eliminate waste by identifying potential issues before they become a problem.

Standardize

  • Creating checklists
  • Setting goals or standards for a consistent and organized work environment
  • Defining roles and responsibilities clearly, which creates accountability
  • Standardizing reinforces the first three steps by putting effective and efficient procedures and practices in place. This step helps to eliminate waste by ensuring the first three steps of the 5S process are adhered to and monitored. 

Sustain 

  • Making it a routine to maintain the correct methods and processes that you identified in the first 4 steps
  • Develop a continuous improvement culture that drives excellence and maintains the 5s methodology 
  • Ensuring the 5S principles are embedded in training activities
  • This final step helps to maintain the progress built through the first four steps, and eliminates waste by ensuring the waste-saving practices of 5S are adhered to.   It is easy for people to fall back into old habits, and the 5S process will eventually fail if all aspects are not sustained. 
Voice of the Customer / Focus Group Facilitation

In a continuous improvement environment, we strive to understand and meet the needs of our customers - those who use and benefit from our products and services. The 'Voice of the Customer' is often our best source of information and one effective way to collect this input is through a customer focus group.

Focus groups provide an opportunity to get multiple customers together to discuss their needs, evaluate concepts, and provide feedback necessary to make improvements to a process. They can be an important component of the ongoing customer communication which is at the core of any great organization.

Voice of Customer

If you would like our team to facilitate a focus group session to help you understand your 'Voice of the Customer', contact us at peiadmins@kent.edu.

Process Evaluation and Improvement Team Photo

PICTURED FROM LEFT TO RIGHT:

  • Stephanie Allison, Business Systems Analyst
  • Holly Slocum, Director, Process Evaluation and Improvement
  • Lisa Steigmann-Gall, Lead Business Systems Analyst
  • Chrissy Dispina, Business Systems Analyst
  • Kim Rivers, Senior Business Systems Analyst
  • Jonathan Prenosil, No longer with the university