Build­ing a high per­for­mance work­force

The Covington News - - LOCAL - STAFF RE­PORTS news@cov­

Groups from the pri­vate and pub­lic sec­tor came to­gether at SKC Inc. in New­ton to learn an im­prove­ment method­ol­ogy called Lean Six Sigma.

Lean Six Sigma helps pro­vide a high per­for­mance work­force, one with solid skills in prob­lem solv­ing, an­a­lyt­i­cal and crit­i­cal think­ing and decision mak­ing.

Fri­day’s event also made it clear just how closely linked ev­ery­one is in New­ton County. The lo­cal school sys­tem and tech­ni­cal col­leges gen­er­ate a con­tin­u­ous pool of new tal­ent. The business com­mu­nity drives em­ploy­ment, and the Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity helps to at­tract new in­dus­try and pro­vides work­force de­vel­op­ment through plan­ning, in­fra­struc­ture and train­ing.

The New­ton County Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity helped fa­cil­i­tate such train­ing at SKC, where, 40 par­tic­i­pants be­came cer­ti­fied Lean Six Sigma Yel­low Belts. Par­tic­i­pants from the pri­vate sec­tor in­cluded Black Box, Bostik, Cbe­yond Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Kelly Ser­vices, Ny­loboard, SPG In­ter­na­tional and SRG Global. Those from the pub­lic sec­tor in­cluded New­ton County’s Board of Com­mis­sion­ers, School Sys­tem, Of­fice of Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Wa­ter & Sewer Au­thor­ity as well as Ge­or­gia Pied­mont Tech­ni­cal Col­lege and Ox­ford Col­lege.

The pub­licly-held Yel­low Belt cer­ti­fi­ca­tion train­ing was the kick­off event of a strate­gic train­ing ini­tia­tive spon­sored by the New­ton / Cov­ing­ton Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity. Lean Six Sigma is a pow­er­ful process im­prove­ment method­ol­ogy suc­cess­fully adopted by many or­ga­ni­za­tions — man­u­fac­tur­ing, ser­vice, health­care and gov­ern­ment — to sig­nif­i­cantly im­prove their bot­tom line and cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence. The Yel­low Belt is the first step for those new to Lean Six Sigma.

“We are com­mit­ted to de­vel­op­ing our lo­cal work­force into a true en­gine that will drive our lo­cal in­dus­try growth. I am ex­cited about the Lean Six Sigma train­ing roadmap that River­wood As­so­ciates is de­vel­op­ing with us,” said David Bernd, Vice Pres­i­dent of Eco- nomic De­vel­op­ment.

River­wood As­so­ciates is an At­lanta-based company that pro­vides op­er­a­tional train­ing and con­sult­ing to or­ga­ni­za­tions that wish to im­prove per­for­mance lev­els.

“David un­der­stands the needs of in­dus­try hav­ing en­joyed a 35 year ca­reer with Kimberly Clark. The business com­mu­nity re­spects him be­cause he’s been in the trenches,” said Scott Lu­ton, a part­ner with River­wood As­so­ciates. “He’s knows op­er­a­tions and is a cer­ti­fied Six Sigma Black Belt.”

SKC hosted the one day event at their head­quar­ters in Cov­ing­ton. SKC is a leader in Lean Six Sigma and has been em­brac­ing it since 2005. Ac­cord­ing to Toni Cic­carello, Di­rec­tor of SKC’s Six Sigma and Sup­ply Chain.

Kaizen is a Ja­panese man­age­ment tech­nique that refers to the prac­tice of con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment.

The train­ing was fa­cil­i­tated by Peter J. Sher­man, a Cer­ti­fied Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt with River­wood As­so­ciates. Par­tic­i­pants learned about dif­fer­ent or­ga­ni­za­tions suc­cess­fully lever­ag­ing Lean Six Sigma. Ex­am­ples in- cluded City of Fort Wayne, In­di­ana; Coca-Cola, Gen­eral Elec­tric, Star­bucks; Toy­ota; and Vir­ginia Ma­son Hos­pi­tal. Top­ics in­cluded learn­ing the prin­ci­ples of Lean Six Sigma, prob­lem solv­ing us­ing the DMAIC (De­fine-Mea­sure-An­a­lyze-Im­prove-Con­trol) frame­work, and a va­ri­ety of proven tools. Par­tic­i­pants com­pleted sev­eral hand­son ex­er­cises in­clud­ing iden­ti­fy­ing ex­am­ples of the 8 Wastes, defin­ing the Voice of the Cus­tomer (VOC), map­ping a cur­rent state process, and per­form­ing Root Cause Anal­y­sis.

“This [Lean Six Sigma] was a real eye opener for me per­son­ally,” said Jay Lan­ners, Vice Pres­i­dent of Black Box, who at­tended the train­ing. “We need a common ap­proach and lan­guage to ef­fi­ciently and ef­fec­tively man­age the growth. I can eas­ily see our front­line teams em­brac­ing Lean Six Sigma”.

Other par­tic­i­pants like Sa­man­tha Fuhrey, Su­per­in­ten­dent of New­ton County School Sys­tem, were equally im­pressed. “I see many op­por­tu­ni­ties where we can lever­age th­ese prin­ci­ples and tools to stream­line the school op­er­a­tions,” she said.

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