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Lean (Continuous Process Improvement)

What is Lean?

Lean is a continuous process improvement method focused on improving service and quality for the customer, with the "customer" encompassing students, parents, colleagues, or the community. Lean empowers employees at all levels of the College to identify issues and be part of the process to recommend changes. The intention is to improve service and/or quality and free up employee time from inefficient processes and allow more time for more value-added tasks.

Lean is a way to look at a process or set of work that is cumbersome and inefficient, in order to simplify the steps involved. Using a variety of tools, a process is broken down and scrutinized in order to eliminate any unnecessary steps and/or improve the quality of the process. Lean asks the people who are actively involved in the process to engage in the problem solving to ensure all stakeholder perspectives are considered. Lean helps to save time, money and provide better service.

Keene State College began formally utilizing Lean principles in January 2016. As of fall 2017, more than forty KSC employees have completed Yellow Belt training, a three-day, initial certification session for participating in Lean events; fourteen completed Green Belt training, a three-day plus practicum certification program that prepares for facilitating Lean events; and three completed Black Belt training, which is a seven-month long program containing theory and tools for implementing and sustaining Lean within an organization.

Want to learn more about Lean? Intro to Lean workshops are held periodically throughout the year for staff and faculty that want to learn more about concept, theories, and practices. The workshops are facilitated by KSC Lean Leadership Team members and include hands-on practice and examples of successful Lean efforts by your KSC colleagues. Register for a session at the KSC Training Registration page.

How Lean Can Help You or Your Department?

The KSC Lean Leadership Team, comprised of staff that have completed Green Belt or Black Belt certification, is available to help campus members and departments evaluate potential areas for efficiency or process improvement. Through the training necessary to obtain their certification, these team members have learned a variety of tools and techniques that can be employed to address onerous or time-consuming tasks. For processes that cross departments or functional areas, the Team can assist with developing a plan to bring stakeholders together to review the process and provide facilitation of that review.

Contact us through the Lean Process Improvement Suggestion form or by email at ksclean@keene.edu with any questions.

Training Opportunities

The KSC Lean Leadership Team will generally offer Intro to Lean workshops at least twice a semester and Yellow Belt certification programs at least once a year. Notification of upcoming training opportunities will be distributed by email to the Events distribution list and included on the KSC Training web site.

Lean Resources:


Project Tracking

While not always apparent, Lean efforts are underway all across campus. View a list of completed, ongoing, and suggested ideas for improvement. More about Project Tracking

Success Stories

From small tweaks in a task to major overhauls of multi-departmental processes, staff and faculty have been utilizing Lean tools and techniques to make their work more efficient and better serve their internal and external customers. Read just a few examples of their successful efforts. More about Success Stories


Contact LEAN

Supported in part by a grant from the Davis Educational Foundation. This grant was received from the Davis Educational Foundation established by Stanton and Elizabeth Davis after Mr. Davis's retirement as chairman of Shaw's Supermarkets, Inc.

How to Contact

Email: ksclean@keene.edu

Idea submission form: Lean Process Improvement Suggestion