Lean Consulting – kaizen, value streams, visualisation and lean culture

Lean consulting is the bringing about of a day by day improvement of processes that your consumers value. It is not a process improvement initiative or a tool, but a long term commitment in a new way of working. This improvement is best run by those who do the work, who know the work and who are most affected by the work. It is in stark contrast to bringing in consultants that implement best practices. What we provide is a service that will educate and train your staff in Lean principles and practices so that they may bring about the changes. This produces commitment and an engaged workforce that is fully behind the changes they make and greatly heightens the success of the changes. In addition to this we work as mentors in running various Lean practices such as value stream mapping, kaizen workshops and the implementation of visualisation tools.

Lean consulting

If you would like an introduction to Lean, we recommend you engage us for a half or  one day training session that will provide you an overview of Lean. If you are already committed to move this way, let us know and we will work with you to bring about a Lean culture and assist you in implementing the various Lean practices into your company or department.

Below are a number of the traditional Lean practices that we offer and can be applied to any knowledge area:

Kaizen workshops

Kaizen workshops- Within Lean Consulting we facilitate Kaizen workshops with your team. The workshop is a short and focused improvement initiative where those who are doing the work come together to improve a value stream.  The workshop covers three main areas; current state understanding, future state design and then implementation.  It is not just about understanding the current or mapping the future state, but it is about making radical and definite change in the time that the workshop is running.  The current state mapping enables the staff the see the flow of work, to follow a item or a person, and to see the value added and non value added steps.  Once the whole team has this understanding then the team moves towards designing a future process and map for their work.  They will work to eliminate non value added steps, reduce queues, improve quality, balance work and ideally create a situation where the work flows.  At this junction the team will be very clear on how they are working now and their vision of how they would like to work.  They then plan and implement these changes.  This is all done over a 2 – 5 day period, and by the end of it they will have a working improved process where the staff are engaged and thinking of future improvements.

Visualisation

In manufacturing it is easy to see the state of work, to see the boxes of inventory and the time it takes for work to move through a system. With office and knowledge work visualisation becomes significantly more difficult.  You cannot easily go and see the progress of work, everyone is sitting behind a screen and beavering away at their keyboards.  A few years ago one of us worked as a Kanban coach, where his primary role was displaying the current status of work on a whiteboard.  We would have tickets and lanes of work and he would make sure that the current status that is being worked on was clearly reflected on the whiteboard.  This is very useful for management or for anyone trying to see where the status of work is and where their are bottlenecks and queues.  However it is labor intensive, but luckily a number of software options are now available that help to show the status of work.  Within Lean Consulting we work with you to understand your needs and then match a solution whether that be a whiteboard solution or a electronic solution so that you are able to clearly see the status of work, where bottlenecks are, what is holding things up and where attention needs to be focused.  We are trained in a few different solutions and can help to implement these.

Value stream mapping

These days too many organisations suffer from silo-centric behavior and intra-organisational conflict.  Most of these organisations do not understand what is holding them back from achieving great results.  With Value Stream Mapping you get a proven method to visualise the big picture from the inception of customer request all the way through to the fulfilling of that request.  It shows the steps that the item being worked on goes through.  This items can be something manufactured (like a car), or can be a person receiving a service (such as going to a doctor) or a paper based approval (like a building consent).  Value stream mapping illustrates the steps that this items follows.  These items typically cross departments and silos, therefore the value stream mapping helps to resolve disconnects, redundancies and gaps in the value delivery system.  With this clear visualisation it brings everyone together, helping a company to transform leadership thinking to be customer centric and to bring everyone inline with the big picture.  Within Lean Consulting we work to facilitate the sessions with the management team to map out your values streams.

Lean Culture and continuous improvement

We cannot easily go into an organisation and change their culture, as we know that cultural change has many factors.  What we can do is help to change the thinking of the staff through simulation based training and through empowering them to make changes.  In addition to this when everything become visualised and clear the staff will automatically see the need for change.  The training we provide gives the team a practical hands-on approach to learning.  That training makes it clear why siloed thinking and traditional top down management does not work, and allows the trainees to think and to want to be open to changes.  It encourages the staff to not just work but to think about their work, to think about everything they do as a process and how this process fits within the overall value stream.  One of the key benefits our clients say that our training provides is that their staff are now thinking about the overall process and updating their work.  Contact us so that we can tailor our training for you.