One of the Dublin City School District's guiding principles is to continuously improve in everything we do, every day.

One of the Dublin City School District's guiding principles is to continuously improve in everything we do, every day.

On its surface, this concept seems like a simple pledge to strive to get better, but in Dublin City Schools, continuous improvement has deep roots in the private sector business world.

In our work, continuous improvement is tied to the concept of Lean Six Sigma.

Lean Six Sigma is a managerial philosophy used by many of the world's leading private sector companies, including many located within our district.

It is a data-driven problem-solving methodology resulting in an improved process or outcome when deployed correctly.

The district is fully committed to implementing these concepts and to operating in the most-efficient manner possible.

For example, two school years ago, through conservation efforts, and efficient management, our district saved more than $1-million in energy costs.

We are constantly seeking these types of costs savings and Lean Six Sigma concepts will not only help us recognize these opportunities, but will also help us provide data-driven solutions.

During this past summer, and again this fall, teams of Central Office administrators have attended the LeanOhio Bootcamp. Our participants learned about the importance of process, the steps in a process, and how to approach problem solving from data-driven angles.

LeanOhio Boot Camp is an intensive weeklong training program that gets people learning and using Lean methods and tools. The entire program is tailored to the public-sector workplace and public-sector processes.

This is practical training aimed at generating results. Participants will be able to use their new knowledge and skills immediately -- to make government simpler, faster, better and less costly.

LeanOhio Boot Camp was designed by a public-sector team of Lean Six Sigma Black Belts with years of experience in government.

Team members have planned, led, and facilitated hundreds of Lean events, including major Kaizen events that have saved millions of dollars.

Kaizen events are one of the concepts we will be bringing to Dublin City Schools.

The term is Japanese, meaning to break apart or change (kai) for the better (zen). It's a powerful tool in the Lean toolbox and is an engagement practice that helps keep employees at all levels in the organization connected.

Kaizen is a practice of choice among successful private-sector organizations, with a proven record of reducing waste, increasing efficiency, saving money and increasing customer satisfaction.

In a typical Kaizen event, team members meet for five straight days to overhaul a core work process. Their week begins with just-in-time training in the Kaizen methodology.

Then they map out the current state of the process, analyzing every step to find all forms of waste: over-processing, delays, loop backs, hand offs, excessive inventory, defects, and so on.

They use their findings to develop a new process that is simpler, faster, better and more cost-effective. Action plans address all aspects of implementation, including training and communication.

It will take time to implement these new concepts in a district as large as Dublin, but we are fully committed to lean operations and continuous improvement.

Our Board of Education and Superintendent Dr. Todd Hoadley created the title I currently hold, director of continuous improvement. In my role, I will be responsible for collaborating with administrators and staff from across our District, to problem solve process issues, increase efficiency and ultimately save our taxpayers dollars.

Several projects are underway, including an examination of the District's copier and printer contracts, numbers and use practices. Using data-driven problem solving techniques, we will be analyzing the district's copier and printer costs, comparing those costs to actual needs, with the goal of reducing copier and printer costs districtwide.

We will keep our community updated about our progress as we implement Lean Six Sigma concepts along our continuous improvement journey.

Annette Morud, the Dublin City School District's director of continuous improvement, submitted the School Notes column.