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Lean Manufacturing Consultants, The Real Story [infographic]

Lean Manufacturing Consultants The Real Story top

Can Lean Consultants be a valuable asset to a Company?  We use an infographic to get a big picture look at the many aspects of lean to consider whether a lean consultant is beneficial to you business:

Lean Manufacturing Consultants The Real Story

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About Lean:

Essentially, “Lean” is centered on preserving value with less work which is a difficult task in a complex business with many processes and employees. 

A Lean environment requires a different style of management, style of leadership, performance measurements, organizational structures, thinking process and a different culture.  It took Toyota over twenty years to develop what we now call Toyota Production System. (TPS).  You cannot expect long term results without properly investing in training and not rushing the implementation.

Lean consultants with high expertise offer an opportunity for companies to leap forward (and avoid the 20 year learning cycle). 

Consider which services are needed from Lean Consultants:

Lean manufacturing consultants help you to improve profit through waste reduction, eliminating the seven wastes within your processes through implementing Just in Time flow, 5S, SMED and other ideas that form the backbone of lean.

  • Lean Manufacturing Implementation
  • Lean Six Sigma Implementation
    • Lean Six Sigma is now being widely adopted by financial institutions, retailers, hospitals and other corners of the services industry. Lean Six Sigma is a blend of two concepts: lean manufacturing, which is aimed at reducing waste, and Six Sigma, which helps companies reduce errors. 
    • Lean Six Sigma often fails to deliver expected results. Bain’s management survey of 183 companies found that 80 percent are not achieving their expected value from Lean Six Sigma efforts, and 74 percent have failed to achieve their savings targets.
    • Lean Manufacturing Assessment
    • Kaizen Events
    • Value Stream Mapping / Analysis
    • On-site Lean Manufacturing Training/Seminars
    • Public Lean Manufacturing and Lean Six Sigma Training / Certification
    • On-line Lean Manufacturing and Lean Six Sigma Training / Certification
    • Lean Supply Chain
    • Supplier Selection/Evaluation
    • Lean Healthcare Training and Advisory Services

Understand if your industry can benefit from Lean:

  • Manufacturers
  • Hospitals and Health Care Providers
  • Construction Industry
  • Electronics
  • Contract Manufacturing
  • Food
  • Beverage Packaging
  • Medical Devices
  • Media
  • Waste Management
  • Luxury Goods
  • Lighting Controls
  • Access Systems
  • Drug Manufacturing
  • Service Industries of all types
  • Insurance Agencies
  • Auto Repair
  • Banks and Credit unions
  • Call Centers
  • Office and Administrative Environments
  • Aerospace Industry
  • Education Institutions
  • Government institutions
  • Construction companies.

Consider what the lean consultant will improve:

  • Productivity       
    • Newcastle Systems has helped hundreds of companies with portable power on mobile carts to minimize unnecessary walking.
    • Lead Time          
    • Manufacturing/Product Costs
    • Inventory           
    • Floor Space
    • Facilities and Plant Layout
      • Facilities (land, buildings, equipment) provide the physical capability to add value and create products. The most common manifestation of facility planning (or lack thereof) is the Plant Layout. An effective layout incorporates and enables the manufacturing strategy on which it is based. Lean strategy starts with workflow and workflow is the result of process and layout.
      • New Product Time to Market
      • Quality Costs
      • Defects and Reworks
      • Flexibility
      • Breakdowns and Changeover Times
      • Employee Morale / Safety
      • Customer Satisfaction
      • The Bottom-Line

The challenge in moving Lean to services is the lack of widely available reference implementations to allow people to see how it can work and the impact it does have.  This makes it more difficult to build the level of belief seen as necessary for strong implementation. 

Without expertise, implementation often 'feels its way' along as must the early industrial engineers of Toyota.  This places huge importance upon sponsorship to encourage and protect these experimental developments.   (“Feel its way along” the process is unnecessary when an expert lean consultant firm is on the job.)

Many consulting firms call themselves Lean or Six Sigma. They do a kaizen event or an assessment and then hand off a plan. If you are lucky enough to find a lean consulting firm that goes deeper, they will work hand-in-hand with you to transfer knowledge, offer advanced thinking and propel your team's capabilities to a whole new level.

This is when the magic happens and new success is achieved.

If it’s time to hire a lean consultant, here is how to get more value:

Simple guidelines for finding the lean "sensei" (Japanese for "teacher") you may need. 

1. Start by asking whether you want to hire a senior manager to lead your lean leap as an employee or whether retaining a consultant would be better. 

2. If you want to hire someone, look at successful lean firms and figure out who was responsible for the transformation. 

3. If you want to hire a consultant, ask yourself whether you want

(a) An expert "process kaizen" who can apply specific techniques to specific problems (like cell design or 5S or standard work).

(b) An expert "flow kaizen" who can tackle entire value streams, from a single model line to a whole company.

(c) A "kaikaku" specialist (a real revolutionary) who will show you the big picture, challenge all of your assumptions about your business, and thoroughly stir things up.

4. Once you are sure what you want in a consultant, check the previous work of your candidates carefully by visiting firms where they have been involved for a considerable period of time.  (Trust but Verify)

5. Once you are sure you have the right consultant or transforming manager, ask yourself how you are going to internalize their knowledge and diffuse it across your business. 

6. As you systematically record what your transforming manager or sensei is doing, challenge him with more and more difficult assignments on harder problems. Stated another way, never ask him to solve the same problem twice.

The Goal:

 “The goal is not to reduce spending – since to do so means sacking valuable people – but to convert people’s time and effort from wasteful activities to value adding ones – activities customers will pay for. 

…Don’t look for lean to do much for your bottom line if you don’t have a plan in place to have it first you’re your top line.” 

- Bill Waddell - Manufacturing Consultant, Author & Speaker

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Topics: Infographic Lean Manufacturing