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Reduce, Reuse and Save Money: Erasable Name Tents!

#reducewaste #processimprovements #recycle#leaneverydayideas #reuse

By: Kailyn Haskovec, , Process Improvement and Change Management Intern

April 13, 2020

Roxane Olvera, administrative assistant in the Office of Process Improvement with her Lean Everday Idea of reusable name tentsRoxane Olvera, administrative assistant in the Office of Process Improvement with her Lean Everyday Idea of reusable name tents

As an organizer of many large-scale meetings, Roxane Olvera, Administrative Assistant in the Office of Process Improvement (OPI) at the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), began to take note of the piles of used paper name-tents that were being discarded after just one use. As a leader in excellence and customer service at CDOT, Roxane took the initiative to eliminate this waste, and save CDOT money.

Lean Everyday Ideas (LEIs) such as this one help improve processes throughout the department, are easily implemented, and help CDOT live its values of Safety, People, Integrity, Customer Service, Excellence and Respect. Roxane’s reusable name tent idea displays these values well. They saved the department money, exemplifies excellence for identifying ways to continually improve and reduced the amount of waste that the paper cards produced and the time spent ordering and storing them. She had the idea while looking through an office catalogue and thought, “We, at CDOT are trying to get away from wasting paper, and in support of going paperless, I thought this product would save not only our environment, but save money too.”

The OPI team helps run trainings at CDOT along with the Office of Education and Development (OED). OPI trainings focuses on two categories, change management, which is taught in a ½ day, 1 day and 3-day course variations along with LEI training. On average, there are about 1,930 people who attend these trainings a year, meaning that at least that same number of one-time use paper name cards fill up recycling bins and trash cans. This wastes results in $397.19 thrown away as well.

An example of the reusable name tents and dry erase markers that contribute to CDOT's continuous improvementAn example of the reusable name tents and dry erase markers that contribute to CDOT's continuous improvement

With the one-time purchase of erasable name tents, the department will have saved approximately $2,000 after five years of use. Roxane even had another great idea of labeling the tents once they were purchased with a label saying “Dry-Erase Markers Only”. This ensures that the tents are protected from damage from permanent markers rather than those that can be erased.

This continuous improvement mindset is what sets CDOT apart. The idea of “fixing what bugs you” is simple and leads to more efficient and enjoyable processes. Roxane remarks on the success of this LEI by saying, “the implemented idea of using the reusable ‘erasable’ name tents, seems to have become a big success. We often get a lot of positive feedback from the class participants and meeting attendees.”

Not only has OPI embraced this money-saving idea, other departments are joining in as well, including the OED, the Division of Human Resources, and the Maintenance Training Academy. One of the most important aspects of the LEI program, is the promotion and sharing of ideas. Through this, we aim to save the entire State of Colorado money and improve efficiency. If you hear of an idea worth sharing, let others know as well!

In addition to Roxane’s idea, there are over 340 ideas to borrow and implement to improve your own work processes. Take a look at our LEI database, and let us know what ideas help make your work easier and more efficient. If you have any ideas of your own, please also submit them so your idea can be shared across the state.