LEAN LINK – Continuous Improvement

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Continuous Improvement

Lean Link is an informal, industry-led with the goal of helping businesses improve performance and profitability through the use of Lean and other continuous improvement techniques. Participating members include both some of leading manufacturers, such as Roseburg Forest Products and Orenco, but also a variety of other businesses who have applied some of these techniques in a variety of contexts, from Mercy Medical Center to Embertson CPA.

Lean Link hosts occasional trainings and many of our participants meet monthly for lunch. Each lunch meeting includes a program. Last fall, the Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership provided an introduction to the use of Lean as a tool to improve energy efficiency. At another meeting, representatives of three local companies (Motel 6, Ingram Book Company, and Terrain Tamers) each shared some of the areas that they have found value by engaging employees in process improvement.

In January, we heard the second half of a two-part overview of the DMAIC project management tool, which divides process improvement projects into five distinct phases: define, measure, analyze, improve, and control. We learned how the National Park Service dramatically reduced the cost of cleaning and maintaining the exterior of the WashingtonMonument by slightly delaying when they turn on their evening floodlights. 

In February, Roseburg Forest Product’s VP of Human Resources and Labor Relations, Kellye Wise, shared his views on “Making Culture Change a Tool, Not a Threat.” In the Spring, the Douglas County Health Department shared some of the changes they are making to their office practices.

The participants in our discussions include both experienced practitioners, with extensive formal training, and companies that are just exploring the potential of adopting some of these approaches, and many in-between. The group meets monthly and is facilitated by The Partnership for Economic Development in Douglas County (www.uedpartnership.org/lean) .

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