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On the Track Team or in the Office, Everything Counts

By Allison Johnston

Spring is often a symbol of new growth and new beginnings.  However in the Johnston household, yard work, planting flowers and spring cleaning take a backseat to track & field season.  We are a track & field family to our core.  My husband, Justin, competed in college and is the head coach at our daughter’s high school. Our daughter, Bella, is a thrower and our daughter, Ireland, is a sprinter.  Me? Well, I spend a lot of time in the stands cheering on my girls and their teammates.

Track & field is often viewed as an individual sport. Each athlete is given coaching, training and support from their teammates, but each athlete is responsible for their own performance on meet day. Sometimes those performances result in success, a spot on the podium or a new personal best; while there are times when the result is frustration and the opportunity for improvement with more coaching and training. What is sometimes overlooked is that ultimately, all of those individual performances contribute to the overall success of the team. On meet day, EVERYTHING and EVERYONE COUNTS!

As I sat in those stands this spring or listened to track stories around the dinner table, the similarity to the key components of our PayneWest theme, EVERYTHING COUNTS, was clear.

We’re Better When We Work Together. We have colleagues with broad and deep experience levels in each of our offices, so seek out those colleagues to bring a fresh perspective or proven experience to a project or challenge you’re facing.

Go Above and Beyond. Don’t be afraid to ask for opportunity, more coaching or training. It will always pay off in the long run.

Positivity Goes a Long Way. In my experience, positivity is crucial to success.  It’s amazing the power that recognition can have on a team. Give those high-fives and thank you’s publically and often. Choose kindness and positivity!

Every Detail Matters. Take it from the accountant, the details are the foundation.  I know we ask for a lot of them, but they are important and each have a unique purpose that supports decision making, resource allocation and strategy execution.

All for One — Company: Even though we each have our individual roles and goals, they each contribute and are critical to the overall success of our teams, our offices, our departments and ultimately PayneWest Insurance.  So remember on meet day, EVERYTHING and EVERYONE COUNTS!!

PayneWest is Getting LEAN

By Scott Simmons

Perhaps you have heard of a new expression that is beginning to sweep across PayneWest.  “Is that LEAN?”  What is LEAN?  LEAN, simply put, is a new way of thinking at PayneWest.  It’s about the client, reducing waste and improving efficiency—and about continuously getting better at everything we do.  Think of it this way—Everything Counts!

Earlier this year, several PayneWest leaders were tasked with reviewing LEAN process improvement options that might work well for PayneWest. Our team learned that manufacturing companies like Toyota have used LEAN for over 40 years and it has been adopted more recently by other industries, such as banking.  However, LEAN usage in insurance agencies is rare. We expect this will change. Many of you have worked with InCite, one of our insurance partners.  InCite recently began a LEAN program and has gained some experience implementing LEAN to member insurance agencies.  We are collaborating with InCite’s Bonita Argent on PayneWest’s LEAN initiative, and she has been working with our teams to share lessons learned by others.

In April, we received an email from Sarah titled, “LEAN in for Process Improvement.”  Sarah’s message talked about the Process Improvement Army (PIA) and the four missions for the 40 colleagues. All of those missions are making great progress.  While the LEAN initiative effectively started with the PIA, there is a lot more in the works including:

  • In May, we completed a high-level training of the entire management team.
  • Coming soon, look for the “Get LEAN” roadshow! We’re headed to (most) PayneWest offices this summer!  This in-person meeting is an opportunity for colleagues to meet our two newly hired LEAN black belts and learn about PayneWest’s LEAN initiative.

Alysa Johns joined PayneWest in February and worked at Safeco for years in various process improvement roles.  A little about Alysa: she lives in Spokane and HAS SEVEN CHILDREN!  Her house must be LEAN.

Alex Howard joined PayneWest in April and worked for years in several manufacturing environments and quality assurance assignments.  Alex lives in Coeur d’Alene, has two children (with a third on the way) and CLIMBS MOUNTAINS!  Alex and Alysa are excited to meet all of you to share more about the LEAN way of thinking.

See you at the Get LEAN roadshow, coming your way this summer!

One Less in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

By Megan McDermott

As the admin in Coeur d’Alene, I track the amount of supplies we have on hand and place all office orders for those supplies. This gives me a different perspective than the other colleagues, as I see how much our office is consuming and in what time frame these products are being consumed. Though we are a small office, the use of disposable products is significant.

All colleagues may not drink coffee or use paper plates and plastic silverware, but one thing we all have in common is that we use paper towels to dry our hands. I wanted to start with a small change and challenge the colleagues in our office to only use two paper towels when drying their hands. This had a considerable impact on the women’s restroom. On a daily basis we have 13 women using the restroom, not including clients, and we were filling up an entire trash bin with paper towels in only one day. After implementing the two-towel challenge, the trash wasn’t filled until day three!

Other green changes in our office include the removal of disposable cups, plates, bowls and plastic silverware. They were replaced with reusable dishes and flatware purchased at the local dollar store. Water pitchers are now being used to eliminate the need for bottled water in client and carrier meetings. These small changes have made a huge impact in our office, and I look forward to finding other ways to make PayneWest green!

Earned Designations and Completed Programs

  • Karlee Agenbroad, Accredited Customer Service Representative (ACSR)
  • Jena Bowman, Society for Human Resource Management Certified Professional (SHRMCP)
  • Kevin Burt, Chartered Private Risk and Insurance Advisor (CPRIA)
  • Jesse Corbett, Personal Lines Coverage Specialist (PLCS)
  • Robin George, Healthcare Customer Service Associate (HCSA)
  • Jody Hampshire, Management Liability Insurance Specialist (MLIS)
  • Alex Howard, Six Sigma Champion and Black Belt
  • Alysa Johns, Six Sigma Champion and Black Belt
  • Annette Jolly, Associate in General Insurance (AINS)
  • Bre Lassiter, Healthcare Customer Service Associate (HCSA)
  • David Lyons, Small Business Coverage Specialist (SBCS)
  • Michele Melton, Associate in General Insurance (AINS)
  • Sherry Sauer, Management Liability Insurance Specialist (MLIS)
  • Lisa Sickles, Commercial Liability Coverage Specialist (CLCS)