"There are so many possibilities for streamlining processes"

A LeanOhio interview with Cindy Money
Lean Coordinator and Training Manager • Ohio Environmental Protection Agency

How and why did you get involved in Lean Six Sigma?
I started my journey while working at the Ohio Department of Taxation. I had the opportunity to see first-hand the impact that Lean Six Sigma projects can have on a process, as well as the entire agency. Seeing how processes can be streamlined, reducing inefficiencies, and ultimately saving Ohio taxpayer dollars sparked my interest.

What’s your favorite example of how you have used Lean either at work or at home?
My favorite example is actually a funny one. I was having such a hard time getting my three-year old son ready to go to the babysitter’s house in the morning. He refused to let me put on his clothes. He would kick and scream, making it impossible to change his pajamas, so I was often taking him to the babysitter’s in his pajamas. After several weeks of struggling with this, I decided to look at the situation as I would any other process at work. I asked myself, “How can I improve this process?” I brainstormed solutions with my husband, and ultimately we decided to put our son to bed each night in his clothes -- we made sure we bought him lots of comfy sweat pants and t-shirts -- so he was already dressed in the morning! Problem solved.

You've used Lean as a process improvement strategy at multiple state agencies. What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned about implementing Lean Six Sigma in state government?
A big part of having an effective Lean Six Sigma strategy at any agency is having strong support in the concepts of Lean Six Sigma from agency senior leadership. Being able to show results speaks to the impact of Lean Six Sigma and helps foster an environment where the tools and techniques are used on a regular basis.

What project/event/initiative are you most proud to have been a part of at Ohio EPA?
I'm proud to be a part of all of the Lean Six Sigma initiatives here at the Ohio EPA. Having Lean Six Sigma project coordination as one of my primary job responsibilities is a tremendous opportunity. There are so many possibilities for streamlining processes in state government, and knowing that the improvements made here at the Ohio EPA can ultimately help protect the environment and public health, ensuring a safe and healthy environment for all Ohioans, makes my job even more rewarding.

What advice do you have for newly minted Green Belts and Black Belts?
Take the initiative. Use the knowledge of Lean Six Sigma that you have learned, but continue to seek out opportunities to learn more about Lean Six Sigma tools and techniques. Observe a Kaizen event, serve as a fresh perspective on a Kaizen team, offer to help facilitate some of the Lean Six Sigma tools, attend Green Belt and Black Belt report-out presentations, and so on. The more you observe, and the more you practice what you have learned, the more tools you'll have in your tool belt!

What’s next for Ohio EPA?
We're looking forward to continuing to increase the number of employees who are familiar with Lean Six Sigma principles, tools, and techniques. We're encouraging more employees to attend trainings offered at LeanOhio and OCSEA. Also, we hope to offer some White Belt training at the EPA in the future. I'll continue working with senior management to identify priority projects and set goals for future Lean events.

On a personal level, are there any facts or tidbits that your Lean network colleagues might find interesting or surprising? 
I started my college education at the State University of New York at Albany as a music performance major. I play the flute and other instruments. After realizing that being a performance major entailed more than just playing the flute, which is what I really loved to do, I switched to a major in English. This allowed me to focus on my other loves: reading and writing.

Interviewed by Michael Buerger • August 2016

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