Saving Money the Lean Six Sigma Way

While cutting red tape or reducing hassles for employees can sound unrelated to saving money, a training program in Lean Six Sigma principles has been teaching UC Davis employees how to streamline team processes to increase efficiency, reduce waste and improve customer satisfaction.

"IDEA$ at Work" logo

More than 1,000 employees have received introductory training in the principles, while nearly 65 have pursued a more in-depth, 14-week course to earn their green belt in Lean Six Sigma methodologies. To graduate, green belts are required to complete a real-life project that could save the university at least $40,000 over two years.

In the introductory training, Erica Aichwalder, manager for the Office of Business Transformation, shares examples of surprising ways that money can be saved by reducing hassles for employees. Some successful examples at UC Davis include:

  • Organizing tools more effectively, to reduce time that skilled craftspeople spend searching for lost tools and to increase the amount of time they can spend on skilled work.
  • Deleting unnecessary data fields in customer forms, to cut down on wasted time, effort and errors.
  • Converting legacy printed products into electronic processes, to cut down on printing costs and storage.

Some ideas from the IDEA$ at Work campaign may also be shared with UC Davis employees in the Lean Six Sigma program, as potential projects they could pursue while earning their green belt certification.

The Lean Six Sigma principles focus on identifying and removing eight types of waste, and the Office of Business Transformation team has found it useful in a higher education setting to focus on identifying inefficiencies related to approvals, data quality, meetings, metrics, policies, practices, processes and reports.

Enrollment is open now for the next group of Lean Six Sigma green belt trainees, with the interactive course scheduled to start in March 2023. Find out more about Lean Six Sigma training for UC Davis employees.

Brenda Dawson is a marketing writer on the communications team in Finance, Operations and Administration.

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