Process Improvement Solutions

Lean Projects

Lean is a systematic approach of continuous improvement.  Its main goals are to (a) make value flow at the pull of the customer, and (b) to identify and eliminate waste that is hindering that value flow and/or is not adding value to the product or process.  Waste includes activities that do not add value, waiting time when nothing is accomplished, or physical waste in the form of excessive materials or products.  

When leading a lean project, Ben first works with the Deployment Manager, Project Sponsor, or project Lead to develop a qualified and diverse team.  After the team is in place, Ben works with all team members to complete the following steps:

  1. Decide what will be in and out of scope for the project, develop a problem statement, and discuss the timeline of the project
  2. Create a Value Stream Map of the overall process and develop a data collection plan
  3. Gather Voice of the Customer data
  4. Lead a kaizen event, in which Ben leads the team in identifying problems, developing solutions, and creating an implementation plan
  5. Hold check-in meetings at the following intervals after the kaizen event: 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, 6 months

By completing a lean project, a team is able to use data to identify areas within a process that can be improved.  Team members are empowered to take ownership of the process and use their experience to suggest and create positive change.  Additionally, team members are able to gain a systems perspective and see how each of their individual roles contributes to the final product.

The 5S System

The 5S System is used to design a work area to function at maximum efficiency. This system includes five steps: Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain. Sorting involves removing what is not needed and keeping only what is needed. Setting in Order involves identifying the best location for all equipment, tools, and materials, then arranging essential items in their proper order to ensure they are easily accessible. Shining involves keeping the area clean. Standardizing involves keeping the area functioning well. This includes establishing standards and guidelines to maintain an organized workspace, as well as creating visual controls. Sustaining involves keeping the workspace from becoming disorganized. It includes teaching others to adhere to the established standards.

Smaller Scale Process Improvement Tools

In addition to leading lean projects and implementing The 5S System, Ben has also helped program areas within organizations by using smaller scale process improvement tools.  These tools are used for challenges that are more focused and have smaller scopes. Given this, they involve less of a time commitment for staff.  These tools are used in facilitated sessions that range in length from 45 minutes to 2 hours.  

Ben uses the following process improvement tools:

  • Performance Gap Analysis
  • Predictive Modeling
  • Project Risk Management Plans
  • Thematic Analysis
  • Capacity Building
  • Learning Objectives
  • Strategic Reframing
  • Reasoning Map
  • Problem Statement Generator
  • Work Environment Assessment
  • Process and Outcome Regulation Strategies
  • Counterfactual Thinking
  • Performance Coaching

Additional details about each of these tools are available in this overview.