Investing to Improve

Steve Martin
Coventry University, Faculty of Engineering & Computing, UK

Ivan Arokiam
Coventry University, Faculty of Engineering & Computing, UK

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Ingår i: 11th QMOD Conference. Quality Management and Organizational Development Attaining Sustainability From Organizational Excellence to SustainAble Excellence; 20-22 August; 2008 in Helsingborg; Sweden

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 33:7, s. 99-108

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Publicerad: 2008-12-09


ISSN: 1650-3686 (tryckt), 1650-3740 (online)


Originality/Value of paper: HE sectorial evidence and case study relates mostly to established CQI in US universities and colleges based on Baldridge award criteria but with Lean tools now beginning to be used. Several UK universities are investigating the applicability of Lean as a CQI approach. However; no specific evidence has been found for the use of Lean driven by and through organisational development and the improvement of leadership competency to deliver tactical improvements linked to strategic requirements. Thus this reported work is original and would be of interest to the HE sector and the public sector more widely.

Purpose: In the face of global competition intensifying the need for high-level skills and knowledge and growing competition for students; the demands being placed on universities is increasing. These demands are also rising in complexity; from the growing number of stakeholders e.g. students; businesses; the public sector; society and government; and in their varied requirements; for example; in the variety and diversity of provision and in the use and development of new technology.

This paper will describe the strategic response that Coventry University is making to address these demands. In particular the way in which ‘customer value’ is being recognised and steps taken to ‘added value’ efficiently and effectively throughout systems; processes and work streams through the use of Lean principles; tools and techniques for continuous quality improvement (CQI).

Methodology/Approach: Experience in other sectors has shown that for CQI to be developed and sustained requires a methodology that does not focus simply on the use of improvement tools but includes a longer-term emphasis on development; leadership and cultural change linked to corporate strategy. Recognising these guiding principles Coventry has embarked upon the implementation of an extensive Leadership programme (LDP) involving over one hundred key staff and from this the formation of leadership Action Teams (LAT’s) to undertake improvement projects identified for their strategic importance to the corporate agenda.

Findings: An LAT pilot project; described in the paper; was undertaken to improve the staff approval and recruitment process. Lean tools; in particular Value Stream Mapping (VSM) were used to identify the customer pathway and deliver improvements. The result is a streamlined process with less documentation which is significantly easier to complete. Representing an improvement of 54% in time to process and a 42% reduction in value added time.


Strategic; Development; Competency; Quality; Lean; Value; VSM


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