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How Lean Can Change Your World and Your Business: An Introduction

Updated: Jun 12, 2023

Imagine, if you will, that your company or workgroup or department is a well-oiled machine. Everyone knows what their role is, and has been given the power and authority, not to mention all the right tools and training, to do their job flawlessly. You have processes in place that help your workers know exactly what to do and when to do it. When something doesn’t work, or there is a mistake of some kind, you can quickly and easily adapt your processes so that it doesn’t happen again. As they work, if things don’t make sense or are cumbersome, they know they have power to raise their hand, get help, and improve the process for themselves and everyone around them. As a result of all of this magic, everyone is happy and working without much oversight or interruption and everything just gets done on time and on budget. This leaves you, as the owner/manager/supervisor free to actually plan strategically how to grow or improve your business or workflow, accomplishing so much more with far less effort and drama.


Does this sound like a dream or what?


But that can’t actually happen in real life, right?


Actually.. This is exactly what the Toyota Production System endeavored to go out and do in the 60’s and 70’s -- and they actually did it. They did it so well, in fact, that a group of researchers from America went over to Japan to find out how they became so successful. They observed and learned and packaged what they found into a philosophy that became known as ‘Lean Manufacturing’.


These principles were then brought across the ocean and implemented in 1000’s of factories across America and, eventually, the world. While I’m not going to lie and tell you that it worked flawlessly in every situation, I can tell you that those companies that fully embraced the Lean philosophy from top to bottom, did see vast and stark improvements in their productivity and workplace culture.


Is it perfect everywhere? No. Is it better than trying to just brute force everything? Absolutely.


After it saw widespread acceptance in the manufacturing world, it started to leak out into other industries. Healthcare, travel, retail, education, and government are just a few of the industries that have seen huge advantages to implementing Lean philosophies.


Lean tools actually work. Will all the Lean Tools work for everyone in every situation? No. Can pretty much every business and workgroup benefit from a collection of these tools to help standardize and smooth their workflow and eliminate waste from their processes? Absolutely.


That’s where I come in.


I spent 10 years working in the Aerospace industry, first as a ‘Value Stream Manager’ where I actually learned and implemented things like balance, flow and standardized processes on my own production floor. After that, I worked as a ‘continuous improvement’ change agent, helping others implement these philosophies on their production floors. In all cases, I saw where these tools work, solving real-world problems and helping production managers achieve their production goals.


After leaving the world of manufacturing in 2010, I used and implemented the same tools and strategies to help my home run smoothly as I worked for 10 years as the mother of small children. I created processes and standard work for everything from meal planning, cleaning and grocery shopping to how the household finances were managed. It took some time for all of it to work, but once it did, I had more time and less stress and everything just worked. Like magic.


However, while Lean has had widespread acceptance and been implemented in many big companies who have the resources and money to hire the big ‘Lean’ consulting groups to come and help them implement these improvements, everyone else has largely been left out. I want to change that.


I want to help successful small businesses that have proven themselves over time and have grown organically from possibly very humble beginnings, but now find themselves in the midst of chaos. Those who have found themselves unable to easily recover from those who are retiring or moving on, and those who are struggling to ‘make it’ on their goals and can’t figure out how in the world they are going to be able to make it to the next milestone of growth. It’s these businesses that I want to help. I want to work with you to look at your workflows and processes, to streamline and improve them, get rid of the ‘waste’ that’s costing you time, money and headaches and help organize your physical and digital spaces so you can find what you need when you need it.


Will it work perfectly every time? No. We are all human and so are all of your employees. Change takes time and definitely some growing pains. However, I will walk with you and help you every step of the way as you create a better, stronger organization. One that can grow and change and adapt more easily than it does today. One that will be more efficient, more productive and, ultimately, more profitable.


I’m going to document my philosophies as well as the different Lean Tools in this blog as a resource to everyone out there trying to learn and manage their business.


If you read something here that intrigues you and you wonder how these tools could help you, please feel free subscribe to my monthly newsletter, fill out my ‘Let’s Connect’ Form or click on the ‘Learn More’ button to schedule a time for us to talk. I can listen to your biggest frustrations and we can determine together if my services can help you move forward into a happier, more peaceful and more productive and profitable tomorrow.


Let’s make change happen!


Kathryne





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