Your Iowa Lean News - May
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ILC Feature Organization

Winneshiek Medical Center
By Curt Wymer
Winneshiek Medical Center is a charitable nonprofit community hospital and clinic serving northeast Iowa and southeast Minnesota since 1914. We are the third largest Critical Access Hospital in Iowa, and are owned by the citizens of Winneshiek County.  With an active medical staff of over 30 Mayo Clinic Health System and Gundersen Health System physicians, and clinics in Decorah, Ossian and Mabel, Minnesota, Winneshiek Medical Center is the largest and most specialized hospital in the region.

Decorah Clinic became the first Mayo Clinic Health System site in 1992.  It has grown to become the most specialized primary and specialty care clinic in the area.  Through the hospital’s professional services agreement and collaborative relationship with Mayo Clinic Health System, our physicians have access to all the expertise of Mayo Clinic.

Winneshiek Medical Center/Mayo Clinic Health System Franciscan Healthcare began using Lean tools (e.g., Kaizen, Value Stream Mapping, 5S, improvement boards) in 2012.  We employed a narrow focus and identified key problems or strategic process priorities, and used this tool-based approach to improve upon the current state.  These early efforts yielded results in clinic physician:nurse team efficiencies and removing waste from the clinic value stream.  

In 2013-14 we adjusted our training and began experimenting with an approach focused on encouraging and supporting continuous daily improvement.  The systems we chose to focus on included:  Coaching (leader standard work), visual management and problem solving.  We maintained a narrow scope and encouraged selected departments to apply systems concepts to an identified problem.  Results of these efforts include a 60% reduction in surgery cancellations/delays and a 50% reduction in missing lab orders.  Our team has identified problems with sustaining these systems and aligning daily improvement to our strategic priorities. 

In 2015, we are in the beginning stages of our next experimentation. This includes moving from a tool-based architecture to principle-based architecture and implementing a tiered leadership structure.  The core of this work is our managing daily improvement system, which will be piloted in a clinical and non-clinical area.

As an organizations implements Lean we recommend the following based on our experiences:
  1. It is important for executives to model ideal behaviors (e.g., Gemba walks), and own deployment.
  2. Consider engaging a Sensei, or someone who has previously worked within a continuous daily improvement system.
  3. Have a plan (training, pilot cells, etc.) customized for your organization.
  4. Guide team members to discover barriers within their work and teach Lean tools/tactics to eliminate waste.  This approach can also provide for an important reflection point: Tools are not enough; consider shifting the focus to ideal behaviors and systems that drive ideal behaviors.
  5. Work to develop every team member into a problem-solver (PDSA-thinking).
With our ILC membership we have experienced hands-on learning - at a great value - close to home. We have witnessed our team members take concepts from ILC learning opportunities (e.g., Kata and Enterprise Management Development System) and immediately apply in their respective areas.

The ILC presents networking opportunities to our leaders and staff, and provides the chance to form relationships with others experiencing similar challenges.  We have leveraged this aspect on a number of occasions outside of the standard workshops and trainings.  Moving forward, we view the ILC as an important resource in the development of our leaders.                

Be a Feature Organization

Do You Want Improve Your Coaching Skills? 

We are offering a worskhop with David Verble in June that will focus on two critical skills to help you ask the right question at the right time. You will be introduced to techniques for increasing your awareness of both yourself and the coachee as two people engaged in a purposeful discussion.

You will also be shown ways to pick up on where the coachee is in his or her problem solving thinking and ask questions to help him or her to look more deeply or move ahead as needed. Together these skills can greatly improve your effectiveness in helping others develop their PDCA problem solving thinking.
Learn More

Iowa Lean Champion Nomination Process
Now Open

The Iowa Lean Champion Award honors a leader who has made significant contributions to Lean practices and/or lead a Lean journey and meets the following criteria:
  • Leadership – Recognized Leader in Lean and Continuous Improvement 
  • Sustainability – 10 years practicing in a Leadership or Change Agent role
  • Impact – Demonstrated and quantifiable business improvements
  • Principle-Based – Demonstrated key Lean Principles of Respect and Continuous Improvement
  • Influential – Has been a Role Model & Mentor to Others
  • Outreach – Leader in the Community as well as in Business
We are now accepting nominations for the 2015 Lean Champion Award.  Please complete this form to nominate someone for this award.

The award will be presented at the 2015 Fall Conference.

ILC Seeking Presentations, Sponsors and Exhibitors for the 2015 Fall Conference

The Iowa Lean Consortium's Annual Conference will be held October 27 - 28, 2015, at the Airport Holiday Inn in Des Moines.   Our Keynote Speakers will be Paul Akers, Founder and President of FastCap, LLC and author of 2 Second Lean and Karl Wadensten, President of VIBCO Vibrators located in Wyoming, RI, and the host of a weekly web TV show, The Lean Nation.

We expect this to be our largest conference to date and are seeking presenters, exhibitors and sponsors for this event.  
Please CLICK HERE to learn more.
Thank you to Kreg Tool for hosting a 2-day Problem Solving at the Gemba workshop this month with Tracey and Ernie Richardson.

Lean Business Management: Achieving Greater Financial Value from Lean Workshop

With Jean Cunningham
When your organization made the commitment to learn and deploy Lean concepts in operations, you did so knowing you would achieve high-value business and financial improvements.
Now broaden your lean gains beyond the shop floor. Many companies have realized Lean principles and tools can be applied throughout the enterprise. Discover other areas where you can leverage your operational changes to produce much more high value waste reduction.

Join us on June 25 at the Cedar Rapids Marriott for this day-long workshop.

You can learn more about Jean here.
Learn More About this Workshop

Upcoming Events

June 9
Coaching for Development Workshop
With David Verble
Southeastern Community College
Register now

June 10
Coaching for Development Workshop
With David Verble
Cambridge Investment Research
Register now

June 25
Lean Business Management: Achieving Greater Financial Value from Lean
With Jean Cunningham
Cedar Rapids
Register Now

July 28
Making the Invisible Visible
Nationwide Insurance
Des Moines
Register Now

August 18

Training Within Industry Workshop
with Jeff Mohr
Apache, Inc.
Cedar Rapids
Register Now

October 27 & 28
ILC Fall Conference
Learn More

ILC Fall Conference

October 27 & 28

Keynote Speakers:
Paul Akers &
Karl Wadensten

Airport Holiday Inn
Des Moines

Learn More!

There are new Lean job opportunities posted in the Member's Only Area of the ILC website.  Have a job to post?  Contact the ILC Coordinator.
 Shared Training Calendar

Is your organization willing to open in-house trainings and events to ILC members?  Please contact Tracy at with the details.

Members can learn more about the following Shared Training Events by logging into the Members' Only Area of the ILC website and clicking on Shared Training Calendar on the left side of the screen.

July 14
CI 101 at Pella Corp

July 15
Team Leader Orientation at Pella Corp

August 4
Sponsor Fundamentals at Pella Corp

September 3
LSS Mapping Skills at Alliant Energy
CLICK HERE for the full list
ILC membership offers a tremendous value by connecting you to companies, organizations and individuals using Lean to improve performance. 

Membership provides free or  significantly reduced rate access to ILC events and more.

Whether you are just starting your Lean journey or have considerable Lean experience, you will find valuable learning opportunities that help you move forward in your journey.
Join Today!
CRIAS Spring Newsletter Features the ILC
Organizational Partner, CIRAS featured the ILC in their Spring newsletter. The article describes the recent history of the ILC and the ILC/CIRAS Partnership.  Click the image below to read the article. 
Welcome New Members!

Organizational Member:

McGough Construction
Individual Member:
Samuel Swarbrick
ILC Accepting Nominations for Board Positions
The Iowa Lean Consortium Board of Directors is made of members representing the different sectors of our membership. 
We elect members on a 3 year rotating basis so that continuity is maintained through all of the sectors.  This year we are electing board members to the Manufacturing, Service/Transaction and Government sectors. Nominee must currently work in the sector for which they are nominated.

If you would like to nominate yourself or someone else please send an email to Tracy at by July 31, 2015.
Iowa Partners In Efficiency Award
Now accepting applications

Making our government - city, county, state - more efficient through the implementation of Lean, impacts  all of us positively.  Since 2010, the Iowa Partners in Efficiency award has recognized the efforts of Iowa government entities to improve their operational efficiency.  

Do you work for a government entity such as a city or county government, a K-12 school, state or community college, or state agency that is implementing Lean? If so, consider applying for the Iowa Partners in Efficiency award. Applications will be received between now and June 12, 2015.

A Nominee does not need to be an ILC member to be eligible for this award. 
You can learn more here. 
Check out our new Other Learning Opportunities page on our website.  We will update this page with webinars, non-ILC training events, Shared Training Calendar events and more.

Have something you recommend we should include on this page?  Contact Tracy with the information.
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