Mary Pat Maher is the author of this blog and a facilitator at The 2019 LIVE Instructor-led Supervisory Academy. This blog supports her session titled “Leap into Lean: Process Improvement for Supervisors.”


You have heard the term “Lean” and been exposed to Lean in many ways without even knowing it. Lean business practices are used and implemented all over the world. Why do we have more cup holders in cars even if it costs more?  How is it we can we go to our computers in the morning, place a complicated order from various locations, and have that delivery at our doorstep within hours?


The principles behind Lean are to provide a path to simplify and organize work without compromising the work life in the manufacturing plant, the quality of the product and/or the cost to the customer. Lean is often described as working smarter by reducing waste and being thorough. The principles are relatively simple and you can apply the same principles where you work almost immediately after you are introduced to the tools in this workshop.


If you have ever gotten frustrated at the lack of change where you work, then you are not alone. This course will give you a better understanding of how to improve your own ability to make positive changes in your organization. Changes that may have been attempted but failed to deliver or perhaps added to costs can be frustrating for everyone. Take the energy from that frustration and apply it to a set of tools that engage and excite your employees. One can measure satisfaction at work by the amount of complaints vs. suggestions. Complaining is actually a favorite form of waste.


We are all together, now what?

When at work, we become part of a group of folks with completely unique points of view, talent, intellect, experience, and comfort when it comes to change. The tools introduced in the workshop are fun to apply and easy to use with all levels of employees at an organization. The workshop will explore some of the most successful strategies in Lean practices and why they work. Hands-on practice with the exercises improves your ability to “pay it forward” with your own teams.  You will learn by doing such things as TIMWOODS, 5-S, and 7 Wastes.


Isn’t that your job?

Disciplined and structured approaches to CHANGE are less frustrating for everyone in the workplace. Workers are the customers of the management team and are therefore integral to optimizing change and applying lasting solutions. How do you draw out the talent and experience you and your team have? How do you learn what things work and what things are not working and may have to be pitched? Inclusion of all levels of your organization and team have a large impact on the result. With clear guidance and group interactions, your changes can be much more successful thorough topics such as PDCA, and Kaizen approach.


Who’s on First? 

In every session, we highlight the opportunities to improve communication in every exercise throughout the workshop. Communication is vital and it lays the foundation for respect of all team members. The janitor scrubbing the drains and the owner have something in common–they both are knowledgeable, goal driven, determined to achieve scheduled results and have a great deal of pride in their work. Recognizing the importance of including and training all of your team on the purpose and value of managing change through Lean is reinforced throughout the workshop.  How do you improve the level of energy and engagement from the people responsible for a task? It’s through communication and I will introduce exercises and templates to improve communication and practice them throughout this workshop, with topics like One Point Lesson, Standard Work, and Verbal Transference.


How am I doing?

Identification of pitfalls, barriers, and blockers at work are done daily but how do you take that information and turn it into your advantage for improving your work? In this workshop, you will learn some very specific tools for dissecting a process as well as strategizing what will improve the flow of work and create habits within your organization. Those items include Fishbone Diagram, Continuous Improvement Culture, and Pulse-check.


Keep up the Good Work!

Changes don’t always last and will need to be modified, measured, and reviewed for accuracy and ease of application on a continuous basis.  In this workshop, you will learn how to understand the results of your goal with actual data to use for further improvement or sustainment. The ability to achieve the result is to understand what you want to change and how you measure its impact. So often after a change is implemented leaders walk away and assume adoption is complete when it may not be. Have you ever gone back out to review a new process only to find the team has reverted to the old way or more honestly the comfortable way? We will introduce and discuss the tools that will help with understanding how to avoid this outcome.



At the end of the workshop, we will do a review of what is key to your ability to achieve success in the changes with such things as KPI, Auditing for Effectiveness, and SMART goals.


If you want to learn more about this topic, register here for The 2019 LIVE Instructor-led Supervisory Academy!