22 March 2017

Reviewing what, why and how you do things

Lean reviews help organisations identify improvements and increase efficiency by reviewing what they do, why they do it and how they do it.

In order to continuously improve and maintain your competitive advantage you need to regularly challenge what you do; ask yourself the following questions about your business:

  • Why are we doing what we do?
  • How are we doing it?
  • What are the fundamental actions and processes needed to produce the goods and services we provide?

Taking an unsupported approach to answering these questions could result in added costs, ineffective change and poor outcomes for your business.

Bringing in a lean professional can prevent this. Lean methodology helps companies carry out structured challenge. This concept originally started in Japan, but has quickly become a significant factor for facilitating change across the globe.

Lean is about improving quality within your business and ultimately reducing costs. The methodology centres around doing more with less. This could be less human effort, less equipment, less materials, less time, or less space. It also helps a company engage their staff in the need for change, and to challenge and question existing work practices in order to identify savings and improvements.

The key benefits of taking a lean approach include:

  • Using a range of internationally recognised tools which can be adapted to specifically meet the needs of each individual company;
  • Identifying measures which deliver quantifiable savings;
  • Delivering innovation and efficiency savings;
  • Empowering staff to lead and deliver ongoing improvements;
  • Developing new structures and processes which are specifically tailored to ensure a company achieves its strategic objectives effectively.

Examples of lean work

We have set out some examples of where we have used lean tools and techniques to facilitate improvements and increase the efficiency of our clients.

Rapid Improvement Events (RIE)

Rapid Improvement Events (RIEs) are used to engage key staff in identifying practical solutions to issues, problems or opportunities for improvement already identified within the business. RIEs work best when the issue is a service or process that is spread across a range of departments and teams within a company.

When conducting RIEs, we engage all key staff involved in the existing arrangements in order to gain their views and understanding of the current perceived issues and weaknesses. This means staff members take ownership for the solutions and collective actions we identify and leave the RIE committed to implementing the changes required. At a recent RIE we held, we helped to reduce the timescale for completing a key process within the business from over four weeks to four days.

Targeted lean reviews

Targeted lean reviews involve undertaking a focused review of a particular area or service line within a business. The review seeks to identify the most effective way for a company to deliver this area or service and what level of resources are required to deliver it efficiently.

Our targeted lean reviews have helped our clients develop more effective production processes and ensure a high degree of staff involvement in the drive for change and continuous improvement.

We recently carried out a tailored lean review of a client’s procurement function. During this time, we worked with procurement staff to map out the current activity within the team and considered alternative options for the procurement function. We identified opportunities to make significant savings and our recommendation resulted in resources being redirected to priority areas of the business. We also supported the client to restructure its procedures for the ordering and receipting of stock, which not only freed up congested warehouse space, but empowered staff to take greater ownership for the use of stock going forward. We generated annual savings for the organisation that were more than 10 times the one-off fee they paid us to carry out the work.

We also recently conducted a tailored lean review of a company’s payroll processes, identifying opportunities to reduce the time taken to complete the monthly process whilst improving the service to better meet the needs of its staff. The resources required to implement our recommended changes could be achieved without additional pressures on staff and within existing financial budgets, meaning the company had an improved process at no additional cost.

We can help

Reviewing what you do, why you do it and how you do it ensures that you are continuously improving and maintaining your competitive advantage.

If you would like more information on how we can help you improve the quality of your services, reduce your costs and ensure you are making the most effective use of your resources, please do not hesitate to get in touch. 

Bookmark and Share