LEAN PROCESS IMPROVEMENT FACILITATION


If your organization is facing a change in mandate, has an urgent need to meet the requirements of new legislation or is dealing with delays in the delivery of products or services, Lean process improvement facilitation can help you address the issue directly.

Process improvement workshops are facilitated by Lean Black Belt practitioners who guide an improvement team through a 5-step framework (known as DMAIC)  to identify and resolve breakdowns in a process and set up continuous improvement habits to drive positive, ongoing results.

A typical process improvement facilitation is broken up into three parts:

  1. Preparation
  2. Facilitation of the improvement workshop and
  3. Implementation and development of continuous improvement systems and habits

A successful workshop will usually also include at least 1 day of introductory Lean training for staff (Lean White Belt Certificate). This ensures people understand why and how the improvements will benefit the them—building buy-in for the project and setting the stage for effective brainstorming of improvement ideas.

Public sector organizations hiring outside Lean process improvement facilitators should be wary of practitioners who:

  • Use Lean manufacturing techniques without adapting them to address the unique nature of government work (for example: layers of approvals, role of internal and external stakeholders)

  • Can't demonstrate that their work delivered radically improved results that continued after their facilitation work was complete

  • Claim that it's easy to realize improvement results in days—a given step in a process can be improved quickly but transformation of a multi-step end-to-end process takes time

  • Create unnecessary barriers-to-entry by relying on Japanese Lean terminology without explaining the concepts in practical language that is easily understood and passed on

A process improvement team should include:
  • Project sponsor: “owns” the process, supports the project, removes obstacles and provides resources
  • Facilitator: leads the project with a track record in Lean for governmen
  • Core team: representatives from each role in the process, develop and implement the solutions
  • Extended team: other people who work in the process and/or use the process internally, provide input and implement solutions
  • Support team: e.g. human resources, finance, communications, provide input/help as needed
  • End-users/clients: full participation (ideally), provide a client perspective