Lean Service Design
Lean is the continuous improvement methodology which focuses on the reduction of waste within work processes.
In order to achieve this, 'classic' Lean goes through five well-trodden steps:
- 'Value stream mapping'. A work process is broken down into discrete stages.
- Process stages which add value to the end customer are identified; those which do not add value are further divided into non-value-adding and non-value adding-but-necessary stages.
- The non-value-adding stages are eliminated.
- The value-adding and non-value-adding-but-necessary stages are closely scrutinized for the seven 'process wastes' (these include rework, excessive inspection for quality, excessive transportation of work items, etc).
- Various techniques drawn from the Kaizen toolkit, SPC / Six Sigma etc, are deployed to reduce waste within the remaining process stages.
Sounds simple, but it can be difficult to achieve in practice. Why?
- Different team, department and professional cultures can make value stream mapping difficult when the value stream crosses the boundaries of teams and departments.
- The tendency to reward individual performance through annual goal-setting and KPIs can incentivize behaviours which benefit the individual employee at the expense of the processes they manage. Process issues are externalized upstream or downstream.
- The nature of highly regulated processes means that many process stages are necessary to fulfil regulatory, policy and risk-control requirements, without directly adding value to the customer.
- Internal, support processes (Risk, HRM, etc) have 'customers' which are internal to the organization: they make no direct contribution to the service package received by the end customer. It is easy to neglect Lean and become bureaucratic in these circumstances.
These are just a few of the obstacles to Lean which we have encountered in our extensive experience of working with organizations to achieve sustainable continuous improvement. We have developed and tested techniques to overcome these obstacles, and have incorporated them into some core training courses. See below for more detail on Lean courses, and our master list of continuous improvement courses.
- Variants Key
- Financial Services
- Central Government
- Local Government
- Higher Education
- Third Sector
- Leading Lean Service Transformation
Variants: (3 days)
This course makes inductive, practical use of context-specific case studies of successful Lean projects (separate versions of this course exist for financial services, central government, local government and healthcare). Following a practical introduction to Lean methodology, the course will provide delegates with an understanding of the challenges to the successful implementation of Lean in the private sector service environment, and how these can be overcome:
- Defining service quality from the customer perspective, making best use of feedback mechanisms.
- Eliminating waste from processes.
- Consolidating process improvement.
- Assessing and reporting the impact of Lean projects to a range of stakeholders.
- Sustaining enthusiasm for Lean in the face of competing priorities.
The course is aimed at senior managers who will 'own' Lean projects within their organizations, or for staff at any level in private sector organizations who have the ability to make and implement strategic decisions. If your organization needs to train its process owners and operations managers in Lean practice, we would be very happy to discuss this further: please contact us.
- Lean Service Transformation
Variants: (2 days)
This course uses real-life examples of higher-volume, customer-oriented processes (separate versions of this course exist for central government, local government, Higher Education, healthcare and Third Sector applications). It is designed to equip staff in larger, service-oriented organizations with the skills they need to carry out Lean service transformation projects in their own departments and work teams:
- Value Stream Mapping.
- Reducing process wastes.
- Measuring and reporting process performance.
- Change management perspectives on Lean projects.
- Aligning Lean projects with current and future operational strategies .
- Kaizen, '5S' and poka-yoke tools for increasing everyday effectiveness.
The course is aimed at managers who will conduct Lean projects within the higher-volume, lower-variety processes commonly found in environments such as retail banking, insurance services, local authority waste management, etc. If your organization could benefit from Lean, we would be very happy to discuss this further: please contact us.
- Kaizen Toolkit
Variants: (1 ½ days)
Kaizen (kai, change + zen, wholesome) is a set of practices and a cultural outlook which underpin continuous improvement in organizations which have adopted, or which are adopting, a more focussed approach to process design. This course is ideal for process owners and operations managers. We will cover:
- Root cause analysis.
- Aligning practices with policy and regulatory requirements, avoiding the necessity for multiple sign-offs and duplication.
- Monitoring workflow using swimlane boards and visual indicators (kanban).
- 5S practices to increase efficiency of the physical work space.
- Poka-yoke failsafes to improve accuracy and reduce re-work rates.
- Establishing and running quality circles.
If your organization or department could benefit from Kaizen training, we would be interested to discuss this further - please contact us.
- Measuring Process Performance
Variants: (2 days)
In many organizations, whether public, private or Third Sector oriented, operational performance is all too often measured and communicated in purely financial terms. This is understandable, but it obscures the relationship between quality, efficiency and cost; and neglects the opportunities for efficiency which arise from a more customer-oriented approach to defining quality and measuring process performance. In this course, we will cover:
- The 'gap model' of customer-defined quality.
- RATER measures of service performance; designing and using SERVQUAL and SERVPERF-type measures of customer quality perceptions.
- The relationship between the classic operations performance dimensions of quality, speed, dependability, flexibility and cost .
- Aligning performance measures with operational strategy.
This course is ideal for operations managers in functional departments, process owners, and senior managers who have acquired new responsibility for quality and performance outcomes. The course is equally appropriate to staff whose departments serve internal customers (support services like HRM, ICT etc) and those whose departments serve the ultimate, external customer or service user. Sounds interesting? By all means contact us to find out more.
- Operations Management for Functional Specialists
Variants: (1 day - 9 hours)
Operations management is the Cinderella of managerial professions. Functional specialists such as management accountants, lawyers, marketers and human resource managers all have clearly articulated professional standards and methodologies, which are often associated with desirable professional qualifications such as CIMA or CIPD. The management of operations, however, has no such clearly defined professional status - there is a common perception that operations are simply equivalent to the service delivered to the end customer, or that operations are what an organization 'just does'.
This is a very damaging pre-conception and one which causes work organizations to lose a lot of money. For larger companies operating in mature markets, controlling operating costs is one of the best routes to improved margins and profitability, once new routes to market have been exhausted and commitment to existing technologies and practices makes innovation more costly to achieve.
This intensive one-day course is analogous to a 'finance for non-financial managers' course, but works the other way round - it is designed to give functional specialists an insight into the methodologies and practices associated with successful operations management:
- The input-process-output model and its implications.
- The relationship between the classic operations performance dimensions of quality, speed, dependability, flexibility and cost.
- Describing and measuring the scope of the supply chain, the operation and the process (the three levels of operations management practice).
- Using methods such as activity-based costing to help unite financial and operational decision-making.
- A very practical and case-study oriented examination of operations disciplines such as process design, continuous improvement, the 'strategy pyramid' and job design.
For further information, please contact us.