Recently I held a Process Improvement Forum at Weekends Only; a furniture store Client with 5 stores in the St. Louis area. Last year we used Lean Six Sigma to improve the process of picking furniture for customer pick up.
See the testimonial below from Weekends Only’s COO for results.
During the Forum they highlighted the importance of change management in making Process Improvement work. After we designed the new process which involved changing the procedures, new equipment, 5S-ing their warehouse and SKU layout the project failed. Thats right, it failed because it wasn’t sustained.
Instead of giving up they used change management tools to ensure buy-in and ownership by all employees and store management. This included all-employee education and letting store managers determine implementation dates.
It highlighted for me that great process design doesn’t work without considering the people who have to make the process work every day. To quote Barry Steffan (pictured in white shirt above), a Weekends Only Store Manager, process improvement is change management.
“We engaged with Supply Velocity to help us embed process improvement at all levels of the business. Our team learned from Mitch to let the data drive decisions, to use Lean tools to help us see our processes critically and objectively, and to create a control plan to manage all of the tasks that were the outcome of the data study.
The project turned out to be very significant to the company and most importantly, our customers. We reduced our customer wait times by 40%, and cut in half the labor cost to fulfill customer orders.
Some results are not able to be measured. However, as a result of this project, we have started to build a Lean mindset and culture, which is part of our strategic mission to save our customers money. Supply Velocity has been a valued partner in this mission.”
Dionne Dumitru, COO