What is Lean Support?

Lean is a term that you either love or love to hate – but what does it really mean? The classical and correct definition of lean is: Developing and implementing the means to produce the highest quality product in the shortest possible lead time, at the lowest possible cost.

That statement makes perfect sense to most businessmen, yet a lot of what lean has purportedly become is very different. It is not uncommon to have a group of supposed “lean” experts come in wearing fancy suits and shoes, bristling with PowerPoints. If all the presentations are not enough, more often than not you have to further succumb to them feeding back your own work and information to you. These are business consultants – not lean coaches, and this is a mainstream approach by many firms today.

Great lean coaches take a radically different approach. They approach lean development with a client team as a learning-by-doing exercise.

A great lean coach should push your team. They will be likely more serious than you at first about challenging everything about how you do business. They will teach your team to identify waste, to see opportunities, and then encourage ways to quickly improve. They will work hands-on, leading your team through correction and improvements and then encouraging them to do more.

The key indicator is homework. A great lean coach will give the team homework and then check on the results on the next visit. Kaizen or Continuous Improvement Processes were developed as a teaching tool to spread and then reinforce understanding and capabilities (and at the same time make improvements).

What you are really trying to do is create and engrain a problem-solving culture that is capable of spontaneous and continuous improvement, in an ongoing fashion.

Lean, therefore, is based on the core idea of maximizing value to the customer while minimizing waste. Simply said, it is producing maximum value with the least amount resources required to do so. To be successful, the company has to embrace the desire to change without inhibition; from the senior leadership all the way to the plant floor.

A good coach helps to build this culture alongside the client team, teaches them to learn and embrace change as a positive thing, and in fact push into it.

In the words of Henry Ford, one of the early innovators in team change, “Remember that airplanes take off against the wind, not with it.” If the winds of change are blowing against your team, let us show you how to really take off!

Services we provide include:

  • Deliver and confirm sustainable business results
  • Build capability of client Leadership and team
  • Set and reinforce thinking, expectations, and behaviors
  • Formal problem-solving techniques and applications
  • Developmental training and leadership

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