Lean Six Sigma Success Stories in the Education Industry

Below are Lean Six Sigma success stories in the Education industry organized alphabetically. For success stories in other industries, please visit our Lean Six Sigma Success Stories page.

Board of Education (Dublin, Ohio)

District Working Hard to Maintain Pledge to Taxpayers

It’s been three years since the Board of Education in Dublin, Ohio made a commitment to the community that the operating levy portion of the 2012 ballot issue would only last three years. The levy cycle has now been stretched to four years alongside the adoption of Lean Six Sigma concepts. The district is fully committed to implementing the concepts to operate in the most efficient manner possible.

Clarkson University

Clarkson University Brings Business Savvy to Hospital Routine

Over the past three years, the Clarkson University School of Business has teamed up with the Health Initiative of St. Lawrence County. The collaboration is “just what the doctor ordered.” The goal has been to reduce the amount of time it takes between a physician ordering an MRI to getting the results and while seemingly simple sounding, the process has been improved using Lean Six Sigma.

High Grades for Clarkson University Students’ Lean Six Sigma Projects at Canton-Potsdam Hospital

A group of 11 engineering & management students from Clarkson University were able to hone their real-world skills while improving various processes at Canton-Potsdam Hospital (CPH). Divided into groups to handle five improvement projects, the students incorporated Lean Six Sigma to determine ways to reduce food waste, streamline the process of transporting meal trays to patients, redesign the scheduling process for total joint replacements, trim the time to access safe patient handling equipment and improve the way digital patient information is entered. The students presented their results to the CPH leadership and administrators, who were amazed by the results achieved and quality of the work in all five projects.

College of the Canyons

Lean Six Sigma Principles: Applications Beyond Manufacturing

John Milburn is the Director of the Employee Training Institute (ETI) at College of the Canyons. In this article, John gives his reader an overview on Lean Six Sigma principles, what companies use these principles, and a small glimpse into how the companies named use them. On the same hand, it’s noted that even “corporate legal departments are using Lean Six Sigma principles to achieve successful outcomes with minimum wasted effort or resources.” The American Bar Association’s Business Law Section recently held a special panel which discussed the application of Lean Six Sigma to their work.

Corporate College

The Culture of Continuous Improvement and Why It’s Necessary Everywhere

Continuous improvement is simply about the people and processes that make up a business. It’s becoming part of the culture and put in practice at every level of an organization,” Kaplan shares. Learn more about why the culture of continuous improvement is necessary in every organization. Named One of Hawaii’s Fastest 50 for 2018

For the third year in a row, will be recognized as one of Hawaii’s fastest-growing small businesses in the Pacific Business News (PBN) 24th Annual Hawaii’s Fastest 50. With only 50 spots available, competed against 90 other companies in order to claim their spot on the list. The official ranking will be unveiled on August 9th.

Harvard Business School

Predictable Time Off: Better Work and Better Lives

Harvard Business School professor and author Leslie Perlow writes about improving the work-life relationship in a recent article for FastCompany. In it, she tackles two seemingly disparate issues.

Harvard University

Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation

The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation has announced the finalists for the 2018 Innovations in American Government Award. The finalists will compete for a $50,000 grand prize.

Marion City School

MCS Implements New Tactic on Efficiency

Over the summer, while school was out for students of Marion City School,  the staff worked to make improvements to the district’s overall operations. The staff met with Norma Simons, a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt and Alber education partner, to apply Lean Six Sigma concepts to specific school district projects.

Miami University

Miami Ranked ‘Most Efficient’ University

This year, the U.S. News And World Report has ranked Miami University as the nation’s “Most Efficient” university. This is the third year that Miami has placed in the top three. Miami University holds Lean Fairs that encourage ideas to reduce costs and increase savings. The independent report shows that students and staff are succeeding at saving resources and money.

Michigan State University

New Executive Director of MSU Value Chain Institute Named

Earlier this month, Katherine A. Franz assumed the role of executive director of the Michigan State University Midland Research Institute for Value Chain Creation. The institute develops effective and sustainable solutions to improve all types of public and private value chains. With 25 years of experience, Katherine also brings her knowledge of Lean, Six Sigma, and standard operating systems to solve problems and transform the organization.

Millikin University

Mining for Improvement With Millikin University & Caterpillar Inc.

A team of Millikin University MBA students collaborated with Caterpillar Inc. in an effort to learn about process improvement. After 18 weeks of classwork, the team got together with Caterpillar senior staff to take a deeper look at the company processes. Using Six Sigma, the team broke down and analyzed how things were done in an effort to improve the process and save money. The Mililikin team crafted a way to monitor and track supplies that avoids waste and delay. This monitoring system has the potential to save the company more than $200,000 a year.


Leading a High Performance Work Environment

“Lean Six Sigma is a structured problem-solving approach based on data and statistical analysis that also takes into account the culture of an organization.” A recent MIT study found that Lean Six Sigma and autonomy create a high performance workplace without threat. John Milburn, author of this article and Director of the Employee Training Institute at College of the Canyons, shares what leaders can do to incorporate more opportunities and inspiration for employees.

Ole Miss

Ole Miss Alumna Returns to Lead Six Sigma Training

Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. trainer Nichole Williams, a University of Mississippi chemical engineering alumna, returned to her alma mater to lead Six Sigma Green Belt Training. As a leader for the Cooper Tire Tupelo facility’s process capability improvement efforts, Williams wanted to help equip and inspire the Ole Miss chemical engineering students for future employment as well as real-world experience.

Online Certification

Why Online Certification Are Key to Process Success

College degrees used to be the standard minimum requirement for jobs. However, these days, alternative education choices are available and prove to be just as effective in the long-run. Online certifications provide a return on investment – not to mention cost-effective as they are!

Penn State

How to Get Kids Discharged From the Hospital Faster

A recent study at Penn State University turned to Lean Six Sigma to show how the model can be used to shave hours off the time it takes to get children and other patients discharged from the hospital. Most hospitals have a fixed number of staffed beds and when hospitals are at capacity, care may be delayed for others. Lean Six Sigma can reduces those delays and potential defects in traditional healthcare practices.

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Six Sigma Saves Food Waste at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Food waste was becoming an issue at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology campus cafeteria, so students turned to Six Sigma. In their findings, the short lunch breaks led to people putting everything possible on their trays then deciding later if they were going to eat it or not. With the implementation of Six Sigma, they set out to help reduce waste at the Institute and the Wabash Valley. They quickly noticed that the majority of trays had a significant amount of food left on them. Limiting the number of plates, relocating serving locations and using smaller utensils were all suggested reduction methods, however going trayless had the biggest impact. Thanks to Six Sigma, the students not only reduced the amount of food waste but also helped feed students in less privileged communities by expanding the food share table program.

San Diego State University

SDSU’s Lean Enterprise Free Information Session

Get a preview of why San Diego’s top companies have been sending their employees through SDSU’s Lean Enterprise program since it began in 2000.

Stanford University

Early Bird Registration Now Open for the Lean Healthcare Academic Conference at Stanford

Stanford University will be hosting their third Lean Healthcare Academic Conference on October 8 – 9, 2018. This conference is designed to help its attendees develop a deeper understanding of applying Lean Thinking and Practice to the academic healthcare setting.

UC San Diego

Process Palooza 2020 at UC San Diego

UC San Diego’s annual continuous improvement conference and competition, Process Palooza, will be held for its 3rd year on March 25, 2020. This high-energy, day-long conference celebrates a commitment to business excellence, operational efficiency and continuous improvement. We expect about 1,000 staff to attend this year! It’s quite unique—it’s a conference, competition and Expo all in one.

Unified School District

Racine Unified School District Gets Top-Level Commitment With Lean Six Sigma Initiative

In February of 2017, the Racine Unified School District introduced Lean Six Sigma White Belt Training to it’s School Board members in an effort to better understand the methodology. Led by Senior Accountability and Efficiency Officer, Kamaljit Jackson, she shares that, “From our perspective, you can remove Lean Six Sigma from the title and say ‘we bring people together to look at a process from a holistic standpoint.'”

The team has already began reviewing the enrollment process to develop changes in the middle schools. Jackson shares that it made a big difference to involve the teachers.”With any initiative in any organization, any sector in the business community, you have to have top-level support,” Jackson shares. And they have exactly that.

Still early in their process improvement journey, Unified aims to get ideas from their workforce. They want to hear from staff in every department, including teachers, janitors, secretaries and central staff members. With so many data points at their fingertips, it’s now critical that they develop the best strategies to deploy the process improvement efforts to ensure their students are successful on the academic side with Lean Six Sigma as the catalyst.

Study of Statistics

Statistics Is More Than a Numbers Game – It Underpins All Sciences

Statistics happen all around us in everyday life. Statistics is ways to collect, summarize, visualize, and present inferences from data.  It also pervades every field of human endeavors according to Terry Speed. One can also see that developments such as Six Sigma contribute “to the near-universal awareness of the value of statistics” and it is understood that methods from manufacturing industries are also effective in the service industry.

UC Cancer Institute

UC Cancer Institute, Lindner College Partner for Patient Satisfaction Through Lean Training

The UC Cancer Institute recognizes patient satisfaction as one of the most important aspects of healthcare. Franklin Smith, MD clinical director for the University of Cincinnati Cancer Institute noticed gaps in patient satisfaction and efficiency. With the gaps in mind, Franklin Smith saw a need for Lean training. The Lean training that was implemented has led to a massive improvement in operational and administrative duties. The improvement has also led to focuses on reorganization of processes to help speed up the start of inpatient chemotherapy.

University of Kentucky

Kentucky Wildcat Football: Measuring Performance (or Failure)

A former Director of Quality proposes using Six Sigma principles and NCAA statistics to measure the performance of University of Kentucky football for the upcoming 2013 season in this ongoing blog series.

University of North Carolina

Lean Six Sigma in the Pharmacy Department

Lean Six Sigma principles allow pharmacies to improve processes to improve quality for customers. Did you know that only senior level pharmacists and technicians were once able to sort drugs in a drug carousel at the University of North Carolina hospitals? With Lean Six Sigma, a drug chart was created and designed to cut out 40 walking steps between the code tray area and carousel machines. This allowed for untrained technicians to refill a code tray without anything more than a chart!

University of California San Diego

Continuous Improvement Success With UC San Diego’s Lean Six Sigma Program

The impact of the Lean Six Sigma program at UC San Diego is felt throughout the campus. The program has improved a number of processes such as reducing the amount of time to recruit and hire staff, shortening compliance approval processes for recruiting faculty, and reducing cycle time for the job classification process. Partnered with UC San Diego Extension, UC San Diego and the Lean Six Sigma program provides employees the opportunity to gain valuable problem-solving tools and to eliminate steps and activities that don’t add value to a process, ensuring the employee’s skills are being used to the best of their potential.

Effective & Efficient Results With UC San Diego Extension’s Lean Six Sigma Program

Through the Lean Six Sigma program offered through UC San Diego Extension, students improve inefficiencies in the workplace through problem solving, identifying and removing unnecessary processes, and working as a team to effect change. The winning project from the Spring 2016 Lean Six Sigma Green Belt project presentations significantly cut down the average time to process an invoice. This was done by eliminating unnecessary or redundant steps, improving visibility of defects in the invoice process, and improving the client experience and relationships with vendors by accelerating the invoice cycle time.

Management Analysts Are Firm’s Operational Guardians

Business analysts, administrative analysts and program analysts are all tasked with making sure an organization runs better. According to UC San Diego Extension’s recent “Emerging Careers for 2016” report, management analysts ranked fifth in San Diego and sixth nationally. According to San Diego analyst, Maureen Jugar, “project management and statistics are some important skills to possess as are programs like Lean Six Sigma” as an analyst.

Mark Your Calendars for UC San Diego’s Process Palooza

Save the date for UC San Diego’s next Process Palooza on December 12, 2018! This daylong conference and competition focuses on continuous improvement through Lean Six Sigma. Our very own, Tracy O’Rourke, will be emceeing again this year so please come to say hi! Registration opens November 1, 2018.

UC San Diego Rolls Out New Lean Six Sigma Initiative

On June 23, UC San Diego will be hosting a one-day Lean Six Sigma workshop to learn from Process Improvement leaders at Watkins Manufacturing and Sharp. During this workshop, participants will be able to learn best practices in areas such as leveraging technology, rolling out effective systems/processes and supporting business growth with integrated learning initiatives.

UC San Diego Goes Process Palooza With the Great Lean Six Sigma Race

On November 8th, 2017, UC San Diego Extension held an event dubbed “Process Palooza,” which aimed at showcasing the practice and benefits of process improvement using Lean Six Sigma. “With all the construction and expansion going on, this is the perfect time to think about how we can improve our business processes,” noted Dr. Elizabeth Simmons, executive chancellor for academic affairs. With more than 400 employees signing up to check out booths about the program, the buzz permeated through the room with excitement to learn more and hear first-hand from their colleagues about how Lean Six Sigma eliminates waste, streamlines operations and most importantly saves money and time. To make it even more engaging, participants entered in a competition called, “The Great Lean Six Sigma Race,” between six teams in an effort to address two real campus issues: the parking and commuting application process for new employees or the Associated Students employee travel request process. Those who participated were required to have received either their Lean Six Sigma Yellow, Green or Black Belt Certification. Paul Kruger, project manager for IT Services was impressed by the day, and by that day’s end, the Turquoise Top Guns won the $100,000 grand prize for their work on improving the process for new hires signing up for parking and commuter options. “We are all about Lean Six Sigma and process improvement in my department and it is great to try and empower every department and every person throughout the university to find new ways to help,” he said.’s very own Tracy O’Rourke, who is also a Green Belt instructor at UC San Diego Extension said she was thrilled that the university sees the value of process improvement. With UC San Diego leading the way in making Lean Six Sigma more accessible and easy to understand, it’s not hard to see that they at the forefront in making their world a little more streamlined, one race at a time!

University of South Carolina

Upstate Students Visit BMW for Lesson on Science, Technology

Thirty high school students from South Carolina worked with University of South Carolina to study statistics and business. Through University of South Carolina Upstate Academic Outreach Camp, the students toured USC Upstate’s Healthcare Simulation Center and learned about manufacturing concepts. Concepts included Lean and Six Sigma which are concepts used by BMW. BMW co-sponsors University of South Carolina Upstate’s Academic Outreach Camp.

University of Strathclyde

Hayley MacDonald Focuses on Stakeholder Satisfaction at University of Strathclyde

Hayley MacDonald, Manager of Organizational Capability at CQUniversity recently spent three months working with the process improvement team at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland. In her recent blog, she shared her memorable experience.

“My aim was to learn as much as I could in three months and to use this knowledge to further develop the Lean program at CQUniversity,” MacDonald shares. Passionate words spoken by a true lifelong learner and Lean practitioner.

In their short time together, MacDonald observed a team eager to improve in numerous ways, for example, utilizing survey feedback to improve and commit to improving the process through strategic planning. “There is a real passion to drive change, even when it means changing some of the things we enjoy delivering, because they are not working for our stakeholders.” Their eyes continue to stay ‘on the prize’- and that’s improving the process for all customers involved.

After working on a number of ‘mini-projects’, MacDonald shares that the largest project she worked on allowed her to share her breadth of experience and help continue to shape the “Lean for Leaders” training package.

“Everything I did while I was here was about the team’s standards, driving ourselves to continually improve, measuring that the standards are being met and continually asking ourselves, ‘can we do it better in a leaner way?'”

As Shigeo Shingo once said, “The most dangerous kind of waste is the waste we don’t recognize,” and it seems as though Hayley MacDonald continues to inspire improvement through curiosity.

View All Success Stories by Industry

Join the mailing list for new Lean Six Sigma success stories, application tips and innovative implementation ideas from highly experienced, successful process improvement experts!


try it


Accredited by PMI. Over 15k glowing reviews.