Roadmap for Lean Transformation

The Lean Learning Center can help you with every aspect of your lean transformation from strategy to execution with our client services. We believe that there is no one recipe for lean and we won’t force fit practices that don’t fit your needs. There is, however, a Roadmap for Lean Transformation – a lay of the land that helps you understand where you are and the best way to get where you want to go. The Lean Learning Center will help you develop the right approach using the following implementation practices:

Lean implementation approaches vary depending on the organization itself and the business conditions in which they find themselves. For example, 5S in a food processing organization looks very different than in a machine shop. Efficient work layout is very different in a hospital than it is in an auto parts manufacturer. Unstable conditions may require rapid improvement, while other scenarios call for a different approach. Some things work in certain cases and some don’t, making every next step even more critical.

All of these variables require experience in a wide range of industries and in varying business conditions. They also require the insight it takes to design and deliver an efficient and effective customized training and development program. Beyond our vast experience in many industries, what differentiates the Lean Learning Center is our one single mission – We will transfer our skills and knowledge to you and work ourselves toward disengagement.”

Sometimes your objectives are too far-reaching for a kaizen to handle them, yet you still want your results achieved using lean thinking. A Demonstration Project is an excellent method to follow the same fundamental structure of a kaizen, but absorb a much greater task. Whether you are laying out an entire plant (greenfield or brownfield), launching a new service or tackling a merger, these major events can either bring you to the next level or halt you in your tracks. Executed effectively, Demonstration Projects can yield significant results.

Our lean coach can either be a project leader or can co-lead with your internal personnel. In either case, he will expertly guide your project teams through each step of our 9-Step Demonstration Project process, helping you build skill, change the culture and achieve big gains.

This on-site assessment will help you determine the current reality of your plant or organization for comparison against your desired state. In the process, you will uncover specific gaps that must be closed in order to achieve your objective and vision with recommendations on closing that gap.

This process can be used as a getting-started tool, an input to the annual planning process or a check-up along your lean journey. Both qualitative and quantitative, the assessment covers 13 wide-ranging categories — from material and information flow to problem-solving and employee engagement. A quantitative score helps you measure progress year-over-year, while qualitative feedback includes specific details, information on broad trends and issues as well as suggestions on how you can close the gap to your desired state.

If your organization has articulated its own operating system and principles, the Center can also custom design an assessment tool that provides you feedback incorporating your own language and criteria.

The Kaizen Workshop, or kaizen blitz as it is often called, is the most often used lean implementation tool. It is highly effective in achieving significant measurable results in a very short time.

The literal translation of kaizen is “small improvements everyday” and the approach is simple. Define the problem/opportunity, pick the best cross-functional group of people, and fix the process or problem quickly using lean tools and techniques.

Key kaizen practices and principles include:

  • Just do it
  • Creativity before capital
  • Work on the Gemba (work in the real place, on the real thing, with the real facts)
  • Problem-solving tools and structure
  • Rapid decision-making

What distinguishes Lean Learning Center Kaizen Workshops from others? First, our passion for understanding your current state via process-mapping. Second, our focus on the ideal state to help you achieve breakthrough results – not just incremental improvement.

waste-lean-learningTo be successful, lean tools must be applied in a stable environment and that stability can only be achieved when you implement the basic lean tools first.

Basic lean tools include:

  • 5Ss — organizing a work area to enable easy problem identification
  • Visual Management — a simple technique to stabilize and control behaviors
  • Standard Work Instructions — an absolute must for continuous improvement
  • Waste Elimination — recouping the 2-6 hours of each person’s working day that is wasteful
  • Measurements/Scoreboards — a system to tell if you’re winning or losing
  • Error Proofing — preventing mistakes or at least minimizing their impact

Don’t be fooled. These may be just basic tools, but when understood completely and applied correctly, the results will be significant. The team from the Lean Learning Center can help you strategize the deployment of these lean basics and guide their implementation.

Lean transformation is a difficult and complex journey, requiring more than just fundamental leadership skills. Maximum leadership effectiveness requires a deeper level of skills and capabilities.

Our leadership coaches help you leverage existing skills and build further skills where needed, using many tools that help develop lean leaders through application and reflection. Our Leadership Development Guide helps leverage current work for greater learning and improvement. Our Lean Leadership Framework will help you understand your role and assess your current skills. Our Structured Coaching Conversations allow you to punch through crucial barriers with greater clarity and more effective action. And, our accelerated learning techniques will help you deepen your lean knowledge and become a better coach to your organization.

One thing is common among leaders — they recognize the need for self-improvement in conjunction with organizational improvement. Our experienced leadership coaches will help you accomplish both.

The Lean Learning Laboratory (L3) is a highly effective technique for changing the culture of an organization and realizing meaningful performance gains. It is regarded by lean implementation experts and those who have led organizations through lean transformation as the single most powerful method for affecting sustained results.

L3 is a place — determined by process, sub-process, or geography — where small groups of people learn, practice and apply the rules, principles and tools of lean at a faster pace, with greater frequency and at less risk than to entire business units. Once the L3 is successful, these small groups become catalysts for broader application throughout a business unit.

While L3 implementation always includes learnapplyreflect and demonstrate, the content and sequence of the basic training modules are customized for each organization. They are designed to accommodate an organization’s level of lean maturity and its specific strategic/tactical goals.

Lean-ToolboxL3 topics include:

  • Scoreboards
  • 5S
  • Waste Walks
  • Standardized Work
  • Process Mapping
  • Control Point Standardization
  • Setup Reduction
  • Practical Problem Solving
  • Preventive Maintenance
  • Visual Management
Focusing on skills that go deeper than 5S and waste elimination, ML3 methodology and training provides a structured set of tools for executives and managers to use on a daily basis throughout their lean journey. Often ignored when a company undergoes lean transformation, these skills are critical in helping organizations pull everything together – rules, tools and principles – to ensure sustainable cultural and operational changes.

tension-inverted-leanML3 involves six basic levels of activities applied across 10 sessions. Module topics include:

  • Creative Tension (current reality vs. the ideal state)
  • Control Point Standardization
  • Direct Observation of Work
  • 5 Whys Problem-Solving
  • Scientific Method A3s
  • Visible PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act)
  • Lean Coaching

Training is provided by a Lean Learning Center coach, who comes on-site for each session, which are typically 3-6 weeks apart. The skills are applied through a method of Learn — Apply — Reflect, which ensures internalization and sustainability of the practice.

While some companies use Lean and Six Sigma separately, many have found greater success by integrating them into one comprehensive continuous improvement process. Integration entails working through many issues ranging from language to infrastructure. To ensure success, it must be done seamlessly with the ongoing running of your business.

The coaches of the Lean Learning Center have been through this integration many times and can help assess, plan and execute your Lean Six Sigma process. We can help you leverage many different activities toward this objective.

Our Lean Six Sigma Leadership course provides critical lessons and ideas to aid in your efforts. Assessment of your programs will help uncover crucial gaps before you begin your journey or once you are on your way. On-site training can be provided by lean-thinking Master Black Belts. And, mentoring of champions, Black Belts and Project Leaders through their projects helps bring everything together.

ideal-state-realityThis structured process is often referred to as value-stream mapping. It is designed to examine and improve the flow of material and information through you to your customers and help you eliminate waste and improve capability.

We begin with a map and understanding of your overall system’s current state. Armed with an understanding of how your organization is working at a systems level, we articulate an ideal state of the same process, uncover existing gaps and identify barriers. By prioritizing resources and opportunities, we then help you craft improvement projects that will have the greatest impact on your success.

Value Stream Improvement allows leaders and those working in the process to better understand how their actions affect overall performance and what steps need to be taken to improve. It is a method of gaining high agreement from all involved on the current state, the ideal state and the actions required to close that gap.

Learn More:


Lean Education & Educational Products

Lean & Operations Staffing

For more information, please contact us or call 248.906.8605.