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Stefan ’21 Uses Lean Thinking in Consulting Project

Lukios Stefan ’21 LABB Intern – Tyler Ramsey, Brent Strahla, and myself (Lukios Stefan) began the consulting project concerning housing signups. Applying the methodology of A3 thinking, a part of Lean Thinking,  we set forth to determine the burning platform of the whole process by which students select their housing and roommates every semester. From our arranged meeting with Dean Welch, we gained incite upon the particulars of the process. First, students are given a prearranged time to choose their room and roommates. Next, the physical sheet of information is given to the R.A. who delivers it to Dean Welch. Last, Dean Welch passes the information to Sherry Ross, who manually enters it into the school database. Yet, our conversation uncovered a hidden factor crucial for room assignment: meal plans. Rather than simply matching up student requests with their appropriate rooms, room assignments depend upon the submission of a meal plan. Here, we considered the two conflicting issues before us: errors occasionally occurring as Sherry Ross manually enters the data. Second, the involvement of meal plan submissions in room assignment is inefficient; furthermore, few students are aware of this process. Thus, we arrive at box five within our A3 thinking: how will we resolve the issue at hand? The difficulty with the current system is inefficiency. The physical sheet that is given to Dean Welch should go directly to Sherry Ross. Digitizing the process onto the Wabash site might provide a more stable system. Much like class registration, students can be given a specific time frame to choose their room and roommates. Here, the option to select a meal plan can also be listed. Thus, the necessary information is available for Sherry Ross to review without the hassle of tracking down physical documents particular to individual students. Before proceeding with our proposal for this digital edition to the Wabash services, we must consult the Technology Department to find the monetary and temporal cost necessary for programing. In conclusion, A3 thinking forced us to understand the complete process of housing signups and then identify the issue before seeking a solution.