When to consider engaging a lean consultant?

If you are looking for an independent lean consultant here are some points to consider

I am an independent Lean Six Sigma (LSS) Consultant, which could be defined as “a person who gives expert advice to a person or organization on how to improve performance by systematically removing waste and reducing variation”.

Engaging an independent, certified lean consultant who is experienced in the manufacturing, retail and logisitcs sectors may be a key consideration.

 I didn’t know that people/firms like you existed. It’s great to know that there is someone there to help / hold our hand while we scale our business. 

– Ashley Cavers, Founder and Director of The Wonky Food Company & OxLEP Mentor

Still, though, what does that really mean to youand how would one help in your business?

It means looking at what you do every day and whether it brings value to your customers, your organisation, staff and yourself.

For example:

  • Identifying and chopping out tasks that are not necessary at all – like filling out a spreadsheet that no-one ever looks at because the information is superseded by a graph on a dashboard that can be dynamically created;
  • Identifying and arranging the tools you use most often in a near and handy way so you spend less time looking for them, accessing them or setting them up
  • Identifying the root cause of why a machine continually fails, instead of having it fixed frequently but never properly. Maybe the cost of downtime now outweighs the expense of replacing it?
  • Identifying what is critical to your product’s quality and your processes, and ensuring that items entering your systems are compliant with that need, the first time you touch them.
  • And so on….

But Lean Six Sigma is not only for the workplace

Or should I say, it’s not EVEN about the workplace. It’s actually about the way that you think, and it can be as easily applied at home or in coaching or mentoring. How do you value your resources? -Whether that’s time, money, skill, etc. Why not stop doing the activities that no longer add value and free up resource for those that do?

Here’s a little glimpse of LSS applied at home, in my kitchen re-design, where I am my own ‘customer’. All fast-moving crockery is stored on shelves above the primary work space. I don’t value emptying the dishwasher (which is built-in under the draining board) but it has to be done (it’s critical to process)! Categorising things by the frequency at which they’re used, and placing the things used most often to hand means unloading the dishwasher is a cinch! (In fact it’s so easy that sometimes other people in my household have done it without being asked!!!).

“What’s so clever about that?” I hear some of you ask? And that’s exactly the point!

Because, broken down, Lean Six Sigma is really just common sense thinking in a fancy wrapper! It just means identifying what is important to, or of value to, your customer (i.e. ease) and designing all activities, processes, functions and systems backwards from that requirement, removing waste in the process.

Improvement in throughput, efficiency and morale follow as a consequence, cost reductions too. They’re the natural result of lean thinking and execution.

The pot at the end of the rainbow!

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If you recognize any of these symptoms, are experiencing work overload and need additional, independent project help call me.