Lean Activity

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Creating a culture of continuous improvement is no easy task. It takes persistence, patience, and good communication.


Des Moines Area Community College benefits from its Workplace Lean process improvement program, in place since 2006.

By Karla Hignite
National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), January 2010

No one practices for a recession, but Des Moines Area Community College employees were arguably better prepared than most for the kind of belt-tightening required in response to budget constraints posed by the current economic crunch. DMACC—with campuses in Ankeny, Des Moines, Carroll, Newton, Boone, and West Des Moines, Iowa—inaugurated a Workplace Lean program in 2006 to introduce process improvements in every corner of its six campuses. The initiative, developed by the Iowa Association of Community Colleges in conjunction with the Iowa Quality Center, evaluates current practices, identifies waste, and applies tools and techniques to streamline processes campus wide. DMACC's Lean Department operates from the president's office, an indication of its priority status.



“Success comes when employees recognize that they can be instrumental in improving processes and systems. We work in small teams to problem solve and tackle inefficiencies. It is our faculty and staff who know best and can find the best solutions. Once teams exercise their skills and creativity and see great improvements, employees feel empowered to lead and be a part of change.”

Dr. Laura Douglas, Urban Campus Provost

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