Lean Process Improvement – Redwood Brokerage
PROBLEM / CHALLENGE
A freight brokerage built through acquisition has numerous non-standard manual processes that complicated the already complex highly transactional business. The growth of the business volume and transition to a new IT system was the catalyst for the organization to focus on streamlining their business processes.
A Lean Assessment was conducted, and the resulting recommendations was to have a cross-functional Kaizen event to map out the current state in detail, identify improvement opportunities and start to achieve these improvements
IMPLEMENTATION DETAILS: Kaizen
- Kaizen Pre-work
- Formed a core cross functional team to develop a high-level value stream map of the order through invoice process
- Developed SIPOC (supplier – input – process – output – customer) for each functional area
- Kaizen Event
- Provided Kaizen and Lean training to the 35 people attending the event
- Mapped the current state in detail
- Identified 65 different non-value- added steps
- Brainstormed & prioritized improvement opportunities
- Implementation Support
- Supported weekly calls to implement the 15 “immediate action” projects identified
WHAT IS Kaizen
Map the Current State
- Live process mapping with post its notes allows for greater cross functional collaboration
- Each sticky note color identified which functional area is performing the task
- By bringing the groups together to see how the pieces of the process connect, the teams were better able to understand how their actions impacted others in the organization
- To Prioritize the Projects, we estimated the level of impact to the business as well as the technology and process level of efforts required.
- Due to constraints on the data science, automation and application development teams, we also identified if those teams were required to implement the opportunity
- Projects were split into “immediate action” where leadership did not need to weigh in on required resources, and projects for “road map review.” This enabled the team to start implementation on projects immediately, while also ensure larger opportunities identified were evaluated to be added to the technology roadmap plan
- For immediate action projects, the team scheduled weekly follow-up sessions to ensure the impact was realized quickly
- The follow-up calls continued until action items were closed.
- Improved visibility by the team on how their work impacts other functions of the business
- 15 “immediate action” projects identified and implemented
- The results led to increased capacity of the operations team, reduced strain and less after-hours work.
- The organization built an internal continuous improvement team and is now using this are part of their value proposition to clients