Improvement, Lean style

As a manager, director, or improvement consultant you want to score big with Lean and improve processes continuously and sustainably. You might recognize one or more of these points:

  • The market is forcing you to be more successful: customers are leaving you for the competition because they get more bang for their buck elsewhere.
  • Teams and departments aren’t co-operating optimally. The process isn’t running smoothly: there are a lot of disruptions.
  • New (ERP) systems ensure that the system no longer feels like it used to, leading to mistakes and stress.
  • More events are taking place outside of the process than within it. The exceptions confirm the rule.
  • The Lean projects which were started with enthusiasm initially deliver good results, but the momentum doesn’t carry forward. How can you make sure the Lean principles stick?

Our Lean improvement experts are eager to help you increase your added value and implement an optimal process design.

Score on 3 fronts

Many successful organizations see Lean as the ideal improvement method. Lean lifts up your operational excellence, customer intimacy, and product leadership. These are the three pillars that separate the intelligent organizations from the rest of them. That integral approach makes Lean extremely popular. The Lean philosophy has proven its worth in various industries and business functions for years.

A promising journey to a new company culture

Lean isn’t just another improvement program. It’s a promising step on the way to a new company culture. A journey that results in better products, higher added value, tailored service, and lower costs. And, last but not least: higher employee satisfaction!

A promising journey towards a new company culture: the Lean house

Aside from value and waste, respect for employees is the second pillar of the Lean philosophy. Ensuring that employees can keep continuously improving is key. All the while, employees have to be supported with the right data and, of course, support from upper management.

Only then can you make your organization process-oriented and take steps towards becoming an intelligent organization. You’ll also avoid sub-optimization in the various “silos”. Lean organizations have very satisfied customers, better (financial) results, and a pleasant working environment where employees can grow and flourish.

Our vision: data-driven Lean & continuous improvement

What sets our Lean approach apart:

  • We make you work Lean and data-driven. Using the right data, you can improve faster, more accurately, and more successfully. Discussion and improvement efforts are now based on facts instead of opinions and gut feeling.
  • We work with the concept of the intelligent organization, so that Lean is embedded in your organizational culture and the DNA of every team.
  • We work agile and in short cycles (quick iteration), so that you can expect quick returns, but also accurate course-corrections. We’ll do it together with you and your teams.

The most important Lean principles

  1. The customer comes first in everything Lean. Every employee knows their process. They also know their contribution to the chain of processes that eventually leads to the services provided to the customer. For every process, there’s a standard way of working. This standard process should be described and documented. Lean organizations measure these processes daily using KPIs and (management) dashboards.
  2. Every employee executes their process according to the standard method. The Lean employee is also authorized to influence the standard process. They’re constantly looking for a better way of working and a better result, with the goal of raising the bar and further improving the service to the customer. All of this is done based on reliable data and analysis.
  3. Lean employees regularly work with other improvement teams, so that you can bring together every department that plays a role in the process. Employees are motivated by achieving better results for customers, but also by the positive atmosphere established by co-operation and striving for better results. This leads to teams with real cohesion.

The 8 Lean sources of waste

We focus on 8 sources of waste in Lean application:

  1. waiting
  2. extra processing
  3. inventory
  4. transportation
  1. mistakes / defects
  2. over-production
  3. unnecessary (search) actions
  4. misuse or under-use of talent

Origins of Lean

One of the ways of reducing waste is working as process-oriented as possible. That leads to the least possible amount of (work) inventory in the chain. You should continuously ask yourself which processes and steps add value, and which ones don’t.

Lean originated in Japan. Toyota is recognized as the spiritual father of Lean. In the fifties, workplace chief Taiichi Ohno realized that only company processes that create (extra) value for customers are useful. Thus, the Toyota Production System was born. Instead of heavily investing in capital, Lean organizations invest in people and co-operation. That strategy proved to be unbeatable.

Customer experience: data & discussion

“Good interactive approach that leads to many new insights, mainly through data & discussion and the Lean game.”

Ronald Roesems
Laperre Hearing Systems

Lean Management plan of action

Lean can only be applied successfully by running through the principles according to the Plan Do Check Act cycle. And you can only do that using reliable data, dashboards, and genuine KPIs. Multidisciplinary improvement teams set up this pragmatic Lean Management plan of action.

First, they determine what the customer wants. Then they describe the current process and its bottlenecks, called the IST situation. The desired situation is up next. This is called the SOLL situation. In the future, the goal is reducing waste in the process by as much as possible. To make this measurably, you need key performance indicators (KPIs) and SMART goals.

Multidisciplinary teams: breaking down walls

By going through this cycle with a multidisciplinary team, walls all over the organization will break down. Your employees will grow to appreciate each other more and more. They’ll also deliver quality work with more enjoyment, because they can oversee the entire process. They build up a better working relationship with all involved. It’s time for teamwork.

Training and coaching of management and employees is essential for Lean success. The new way of thinking and working has to be learned, which requires certain competencies.

What is the Lean methodology?

Lean is a method of improving your business processes in focused fashion. Lean focuses on reducing waste and adding value. The central question is: how can you ensure that your processes add as much value as possible from the perspective of your (prospective) customer?

In a Lean organization, employees continuously strive for higher quality, shorter lead times, and less waste of time and resources. To keep meeting customer desires.

What are the Lean advantages?

✓ Customer-focused culture where avoiding waste and adding value is embedded in the DNA
✓ Employees feel like they contribute meaningfully to the mission
✓ A well-oiled, intelligent organization, flexible and agile
✓ Healthy margins and higher customer and employee satisfaction

Apply Lean differently?

Lean has been frequently applied outside of production and logistics in recent years. Passionned Group offers a powerful Lean Training with a unique Lean Process game. You’ll learn and experience how to work customer-focused, data-driven, and results-oriented. You’ll be able to start applying Lean right away. And you’ll learn how to successfully co-operate. Want to get started with Lean right away? Contact one of our Lean experts.

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Do you also want to become a customer of ours? We are happy to help you with lean improvement (8 sources of waste) or other things that will make you smarter.

Louis Brackel, Lean consultant


Senior Lean consultant

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