“Use Lean concepts through the eyes of the customer”

A LeanOhio interview with Scottie Powell
Director of Customer Experience and Lean Liaison at the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation

Scottie has been with BWC for 4 years, and has been in his current role for going on 2 years. Scott started his career with BWC as a Service Office Manager in the Portsmouth office. As Director of Customer Experience, he is responsible for voice of the customer (VOC) activities in the Bureau, and from that data he coordinates teams to tackle identified customer pain points.

What sparked your initial interest in Lean Six Sigma?
I have always been a fixer. I love the challenge of tackling a problem and generating an elegant solution. While in the private sector I always thought about taking Lean Six Sigma training, but I just didn’t have the time. After starting with the State, I was thrilled to hear I could attend training through LeanOhio, and was instantly approved to go through Black Belt training.

How do you apply the concepts used in Lean Six Sigma as the Director of Customer Experience?
I use Lean concepts through the eyes of the customer. For my unit VOC is king, but we don’t stop there. We have found that the VOC will alert us to symptoms of a broken process, but not tell us the entire story. Once the pain point is identified, we begin researching the process to quantify the size of the issue. We then prioritize the big-ticket items, and start working through the improvement process to enhance the customer experience.

What has been your biggest success to date using Lean Six Sigma?
One would expect me to mention one of our projected million-dollar improvement projects here as my biggest success. While those activities are great, I find it more rewarding to see the other Lean practitioners in the agency getting involved and having successful projects on their own. I have been able to point folks at different customer pain points and then watch their journey and growth as they work with the business units to transform processes.

What advice do you have for newly minted Green Belts and Black Belts?
I want the new Green and Black belts to know two very critical items. First, get involved. The more you link to your Lean liaison, LeanOhio, and other people in the network the better off you are. There are many great resources at your disposal and all are willing to help. Plus, the more connected you are the more likely you will get pulled into some great projects. Second, do not get hung up by using Lean lingo. I know you are excited and are ready to 5s and Poke Yoke everything in sight, but not many people will know what you are talking about. You will be more successful if you focus on incorporating the strategies and methodologies of Lean Six Sigma into your day to day. The lingo is great but it is the methodology and thought process that matters most.

What’s your favorite example of how you have used Lean either at work or at home?
At home, I have a 5-year-old, Sawyer, and an 18-month-old, Scarlett. Sawyer is big into Legos, and loves putting them together and playing with them. However, with Scarlett roaming the house, I am concerned with her getting ahold of the little pieces. So together, Sawyer and I used the 5s on his Lego collection. Once he is done putting them together and playing with them, he knows to put them in the Zip Lock bag, and then he places them by brand into their designated containers. We also have rules for the safety of his sister. If he must leave the Legos out, his room must be closed. The best part is that I will sometimes forget the rules and he will remind me saying, “We don’t want baby eating the Legos.” And I say, “No…no we don’t”

What’s one interesting thing about you that your Lean colleagues don’t know?
My friends joke that I have had every job, and have a story about working in just about every industry. At the early age of 9 I began my career harvesting tobacco crops. Since that time, I have been a stone miner, and a server. I have had the opportunity to work for Disney at Space Mountain, and I’ve graded 3rd graders standardized writing tests. I’ve shot t-shirts at blue jackets games, managed Halloween stores, and worked the ticket counter at Magic Mountain Fun Center. They find it funny that in my 33 years, I’ve had more jobs than years I’ve been alive. As a first-generation college student, I worked my way through Otterbein University, at times having 4 jobs at a time. The best part of this experience is that I learned a very important lesson. Regardless of work environment, education, pay, background, etc there are two types of people in the work place. Positive and negative. If negative workers exist at the Happiest Place on Earth, they exist everywhere. I challenge you to be the positive force, and drive positive change in your organization.

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