PSC University 2017: What is LEAN and Six Sigma and How Can They Help Me as a Designer?
Corey Branch, AIA, studio leader in PSC’s healthcare sector, and Lacy Mangum, CHID, an interior designer in the healthcare sector, were instructors for the PSCU course titled What is LEAN and Six Sigma and How Can They Help Me as a Designer?
LEAN Six Sigma was developed in the 18th century by Carl Frederick Gauss and was formally introduced in the 1980s by Bill Smith of Motorola. PSC uses these innovative tools and techniques for process and improvement. PSC uses this knowledge with clients to reduce process time and costs, and increase satisfaction of clients.
Corey said he hopes that the course participants learned the LEAN Six Sigma principles and how to apply them to their work but also how to “look critically at the processes of their clients to understand what, how and why they do what they do and evaluate if there is a better and more efficient way.”
In the beginning of the course, Corey and Lacy led an exercise demonstrating how this technique is implemented, gave real-life examples and facilitated group discussion about applying LEAN Six Sigma to disciplines and sectors at PSC.
“During this exercise, it was interesting to watch the participants become frustrated with the seemingly arbitrary constraints we placed on them,” Corey said. “After the exercise’s completion, the participants were full of ideas on how to improve the processes and increase productivity.”
Lacy said that as an instructor she observed a pattern of documentation gaps. Lack of documentation leaves internal successes and successes with clients unknown when they should be celebrated. She hopes to be more intentional about documentation of successes and failures along with the rest of the people who attended the course.
“As designers I believe to always challenge the status quo – at least I would like to think,” Lacy said. “The design process usually uncovers or explores options that help our owners be more efficient or achieve their goals.”