Can lean principles change the working culture and work processes in an Office of Financial Aid. In the spring of 2014 a local community college engaged Praxis to conduct a lean kaizen event. A four day event that turned their core process (award application process) into visual value stream map. At this time it was taking 10 weeks to process an application and they phones were not being answered. Today the phones are being answered and it takes 2-3 weeks to process an application during the high volume season of June – July.
These offices are important functions of any college or university. They are often the first point of contact with a prospective student. This means the perception of the school can be set into stone before the student ever walks on campus. Students will often enroll into the school that first offers them financial aid. Thus the experience with office staff and the speed of award can be vital.
A lean engagement is a staff friendly function that creates a shared vision of the Office and how to maximize value to the student.