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Lean Six Sigma Case Study within a Public School District

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Systems Engineering Division Technical Session 3

Tagged Division

Systems Engineering

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Emily M Salmon Mississippi State University

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Emily Salmon is a recent graduate of Mississippi State University (MSU) with a bachelor's in Industrial and Systems Engineering. She is a Research Engineer for MSU's Institute for Systems Engineering Research (ISER) located in Vicksburg, MS. Her current research involves lean six sigma practices and applications, manufacturability, and modeling and simulations. She received her Six Sigma Black Belt from MSU's CAVS Extension Center in June 2016 and is currently pursuing her Masters of Engineering at MSU.

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A primary focus of a systems engineer is defining customer needs, defining functionality of a system early in the development, recording system requirements, and then creating a design and plan of action along with validation of the system. Imbedded in this definition is the need for continuous improvement for the system, and business practices in question, no matter the environment. Systems engineering efforts can be improved by using lean six-sigma methodologies and tools through understanding customers, defining processes, and interpreting data. The Vicksburg Warren School District saw a need for improvement due to the lack of systems engineering process and principles in their business administrative practices specific to the Career and Technical department. The problems consisted of a lack of organization, understanding, and clarity of organizational processes. This department was not performing and operated through disorganized, non-communicating people and systems. This was especially concerning in light of the desire for the school district to be selected as one of Ford Next Generation Learning’s (NGL) communities. The superintendent expressed a desire to see a system engineering approach applied to the improvement of this department in preparation for Ford’s arrival. This research sought to understand the whole system, expose lean six-sigma tools to a new audience and gauge the receptiveness of each tool before beginning with recommendations. It included observing the process and problems of the career and technical director’s department and determining best practices for the education and implementation of lean six-sigma tools in preparation for the start of the Ford NGL program. The define, measure, analyze, improve, control (DMAIC) process was used to expose the everyday activities and areas for improvement within the department. Several tools were utilized and, once introduced to the director, were given a trial run to determine which were effective and which either were not effective, or needed more instruction. Finally, a list of tools referred to as “best practices” were combined and formally put into a user handbook for the department’s use. This handbook illustrates the most effective lean six-sigma tools from the research, and provides step-by-step instructions on how to use them. The outcome of this research prompted the restructuring of the department and the creation of a new position. This paper will provide the methods used and explanations given, results found from this project and explain why a complete lean six-sigma project is not feasible for this type of environment.

Salmon, E. M. (2017, June), Lean Six Sigma Case Study within a Public School District Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28610

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