“It has been an amazing turnaround. This work with TSSC has helped us to see very practically how efficiencies can free up people and money, allowing us to direct resources to our core work in each classroom.” – David Smith, superintendent for EVSC
The Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation (EVSC) distributes 14,000 netbooks (a compact laptop computer) to students at the beginning of the school year, collecting them at the end. The process of distribution and collection was arduous, with too much time taken away from the classroom, the involvement of 15 or more staff members at each school, and a lack of accurate inventory.
EVSC had no uniformity to collections. Each school had its own system. And, because the collection process had failings (many netbooks were missing or in need of repair), it resulted in students being delayed in receiving their computer the next school year. This presented challenges because so much of the daily curriculum is tied to the laptops.
Toyota team members (both from TSSC and the nearby manufacturing plant in Princeton, Indiana) assessed the situation and recommended first tackling the challenge of collections. “Before TPS, there was wasted time and duplication of work. For instance, while the correct number of netbooks was shown by the system to be available, they were not available at the correct locations,” said Scott Dickson, TSSC manager.
As part of the improvement strategy, some “trial runs” took place at one of the high schools, which helped EVSC staff buy into the new system. Included was a material and information flow chart. “Those involved could really see the improvements unfold; it just jumped out at you, how much more efficient we could be,” said Rick Cameron, chief operating officer for EVSC.
At the end of the school year, netbook collections took place; following were some immediate improvements:
- Less time taken away from the classroom during the collection process. In the past, students missed up to an hour of class time; now, that has been reduced to just six minutes – a 90 percent improvement.
- Drastic reduction in manpower, which saves money. Previously, 15 information technology employees gathered at each school to handle netbook returns, and teachers were responsible for checking in netbooks in homerooms. Today, five employees handle the same workload, plus only one information technology staff member is needed to answer technical questions. This frees up other IT staff to continue with the regular work of the school system.
- Standardized work. In the past, each school had its own method of collections and distribution. Today, as at each Toyota plant across the U.S., each school follows the same guidelines.
- Accurate inventory. Via a bar-code scanning process, each laptop is now accounted for in a much more accurate manner.