Experienced Lean Consultants

Supply Velocity’s Lean consulting services help clients quickly achieve significant performance improvements. We identify, prioritize and improve the most critical aspects of your operations using Lean tools and techniques. Lean can be applied to many areas of your business. Unlike a typical Lean consulting firm, we believe Lean goes beyond Lean manufacturing. Therefore, we evaluate all relevant functional activities including sales, customer service, purchasing, planning, material handling, engineering, product development, operations, warehousing and shipping.

Lean is a set of tools and a philosophy that seeks to continually reduce waste in your processes. It was created as part of the Toyota Production System and is an essential element of achieving operational excellence.  Toyota’s initial focus was manufacturing, and the term Lean manufacturing quickly became popular. However, Lean Thinking is now integral to all companies’ operations, whether they are manufacturing products, warehousing and distributing products, or providing professional services.

The key to successfully using Lean for continuous improvement (versus quick fixes) is to be proficient in the use of Lean tools, being adept at change management and managing Kaizen Events or Lean projects. This is why you need more than the typical manufacturing consulting or Lean manufacturing consultants as your partner. Your Lean consulting partner should understand the application of Lean for many types of processes (manufacturing, distribution, service, healthcare, financial services and more), and how Lean affects the people in your company, your suppliers and customers.

Lean Culture Consulting

The only way you will achieve sustainable and measurable improvements from Lean, is to create a Lean Culture.  Culture change is fundamentally important to making Lean part of your continuous improvement / Lean journey.  However, it isn’t easy to change a company’s culture. Lean Cultures are formed from the persistent, disciplined and patient application of change management, employee involvement and a commitment to learning. Lean may be implemented in short-term events or projects, but it takes years and even decades to become a truly Lean company. Employees must be part of the Lean implementation process, see how Lean is creating measureable value, and know they will benefit from the implementation (and not lose their jobs).  They must be educated in Lean methods. Only by making an investment in your employees will you benefit from the implementation of Lean over the long run and create a true Lean culture.  While short term improvements will happen and are something to appreciate, you should think of Lean as continuous improvement without end.  Toyota is still driving continuous improvement with their long-term view of an endless Lean journey.

Lean Tools & Lean Training

While Lean is a philosophy, it is also a set of very specific tools. If you choose to partner with a Lean consulting firm they should help you choose which tools to apply to specific processes and/or to solve certain problems. These tools include kanban materials management, flow/cellular manufacturing, spaghetti maps, quickchangeover, 5S visual management, process flow mapping, value stream mapping, and mistake proofing. In addition, tools often associated with Six Sigma, such as Pareto analysis and cause-and-effect diagrams, must be included in the toolkit. To help your team use these tools, you should provide Lean education, including a Lean overview for everyone in your company as well as Lean Champion Training for the people leading your Lean transformation.

Lean Implementation

Lean can be implemented in a number of different formats, but they all include the following five steps: 1) Understand the Current State, 2) Identify non-value-added steps, 3) Determine how to eliminate non-value-added steps, 4) Create the Future State, and 5) Build a sustainment plan.

Lean can be implemented as a point kaizen (usually 1 day), a kaizen event (usually one week) or a Lean project (one to three months). The choice depends on the scope. Many Lean companies use the kaizen format of one to five day events. These events focus on a small scope and make sure the impact in this small area is large. However, where improvement is needed in a larger work area or a process crosses multiple departments, the Lean project format is better.  The project format will ensure that the current state is completely understood and that buy-in exists across all departments for the proposed future state design.

Lean Six Sigma

Another powerful process improvement tool is Six Sigma, which traces its roots to statistical process improvement.  Six Sigma is focused on problem solving and root cause analysis using graphical and statistical tools.  We have found that by combining the two methods into Lean Six Sigma we can help our Lean consulting clients by both streamlining processes and making them more reliable and capable.

Lean Consulting – Assessment

With over 20 years as Lean Consultants we have found that the best way to start the Lean journey and create a culture of continuous improvement is with an Assessment.  During the Lean Six Sigma Assessment we will determine the few vital aspects of the current state of systems which are negatively impacting your performance, such as: labor productivity, on-time delivery, quality, material cost and overhead. The Assessment involves interviews with company personnel, a review of the facilities and the analysis of financial and operational data. It is intended as a detailed review, to understand the challenges, the financial impact of these challenges, and which Lean Six Sigma Tools should be used to close these performance gaps. These Lean Six Sigma tools may include:

  • Value Stream Mapping
  • Process Flow Mapping
  • Supplier-Input-Process-Output-Customer (SIPOC)
  • Flow Manufacturing
  • Kanban Materials Management
  • Quickchangeover
  • 5S Visual Management
  • Pareto Analysis
  • Cause & Effect Analysis
  • Correlation Analysis

The on-site Assessment includes 2-3 days of interviews and facilities tours. We will continue to work off-site on the Assessment Report and approximately 2-weeks from our initial on-site meeting we will present the Assessment Report findings to management. The report will include the following sections:

  • Specific financial impact of sub-optimal processes
  • Proposed solutions and return-on-investment
  • Timing of Lean projects
  • Personnel from the client company who should be on the Lean Team
  • Level of consulting services required

Lean Assessment Outline

  1. Interview key personnel
    • Finance
    • Sales
    • Operations
    • Supply Chain
    • Engineering
    • Customer Service
  2. Analysis of financial and operational data
  3. Facility tours
  4. Determine specific Lean projects and tools to close performance gaps
  5. Calculate return on investment
  6. Nominate Lean team members
  7. Determine Lean implementation timing

Our promise as Lean Consultants is to prove through our Assessment and implementation, the value of implementing Lean at your company.