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

​LEAN Updates:


Lean Update: December 16, 2013

In this issue: Curriculum Commission, Foundation Annual Giving Campaign, Building a Continuous Improvement Culture, Adjunct Appointment Letters, Getting Serious About Saving Energy, Course Evaluations, DMACC Lean at Other Organizations


Lean Update: October 12, 2012

In this issue: Foundation Scholarship Process, File Clean Out Week, Improving Library Services, Student Development, Student Attendance & Academic Progress Reporting, Motorcycle Course Communication

Lean Update: February 3, 2012

In this issue: Foundation-Gourmet Dinners, DBR 260E, Registration Activity Receipts, Urban Campus Student Life Kiosks and Electronic Leave Requests, Student Development Office Electronic Sign-ins, New Orientation Handbook and Web Info System Assistance


Lean Update: July 11, 2011

In this issue: DBR 260E, Electronic PAN, Counseling/Advising, Foundation-Gifting, File Clean Out Week, Urban Adjunct Hiring, Board of Directors Requests Lean Reviews


Lean Update: September 8, 2010

In this issue: Continued Lean activities, project updates on ITR Program, Purchasing/Accounts Payable, Int’l Admissions, Student Employment and What’s on the Horizon

ASQ Higher Education Brief: April 2010

Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) is located in the heart of Iowa and serves more than 60,000 students on six campuses. For more than 15 years, trainers from the college have provided process improvement (lean) training and consulting services for

Lean Update: March 22, 2010

In this issue: lean Training to Organize Your Workspace, ITR Program, Student Employment, GED Testing, Foundation Scholarships, Purchasing and Accounts Payable, International Admissions, Career Advantage Registration

A Better, Faster Workplace

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


Lean Update: October 23, 2009

In this issue: What Is Lean, HR Payroll, Financial Aid, Financial Aid, GED Testing, Foundation Scholarships, Career Advantage Registration, Purchasing and Accounts Payable, International Admissions, Ankeny Student Orientation Letters, 5S: Organizing Your

Lean Update: April 20, 2009

In this issue: HR Payroll, Financial Aid, Foundation Scholarships, Career Advantage, GED Testing, Conference Center Catering Form, 5S Training Highlights