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Leadership & Mentoring

Introducing Lean Champion: Learn the What, What Else and How of Lean

Manufacturing Advisor Nick Brandwood introduces our new Lean Champion programme – two-days of in-person, hands-on training on lean principles, behaviours and practices for those responsible for continuous improvement in their organisation, taught through interactive games that put theory into practice in the real world.

Following hard on the heels of our recently announced Production Leader training programme for managers, say hello to our new Lean Champion course, designed specifically for those taking on the role of continuous improvement specialist in their organisation.

Together with our hugely popular Made for Manufacturing programme for business leaders, Lean Champion completes a trinity of training courses all focused on taking organisations to manufacturing excellence.


What is it?

Lean Champion is a three-part course delivered over two full days of in-person interactive learning to develop the foundations of lean leadership.

There is an almost endless range of lean courses available on the market that offer an off-the-shelf toolkit of lean theory and practice for manufacturers. This is not one of those courses.

Most lean courses focus on giving you the tools you need, but without any real consideration of the context in which they are applied. Lean Champion takes these tools and puts them into context for improving quality, cost and delivery specifically in the SME manufacturing environment.

In other words, Lean Champion is not so much about learning the tools themselves (although that is a key part of the course), but how they can be used to embed the behaviours and routines that result in:

  • Effective identification of problems
  • Improved flow
  • Reduced day-to-day variability
  • Reduced waste
  • Better information
  • Standardised improvement
  • Better Quality, Cost and Delivery than your competitors.


What exactly does a ‘lean’ organisation look like?

If I was to take you on a tour of a typical ‘lean’ organisation, on the surface you would see a highly organised workplace with all manner of visual triggers, controls and management boards. But that’s just the visual manifestation of lean.

At the most fundamental level, a lean organisation is simply an organisation that understands and gives the customer what they value 100 per cent of the time, at a price that shows that the customer isn’t paying for waste of any kind.

What this requires, more than anything, is a ‘learning culture’. I often use the terms ‘lean organisation’ and ‘learning organisation’ interchangeably, because that’s ultimately what we’re trying to achieve – an organisation that prides itself on a culture of continuous improvement and problem solving rather than firefighting.

The role of the lean specialist in any organisation is not just to wield all the appropriate visual tools, but to exhibit ‘learning behaviours’ and coach them in others, so they become habit and routine throughout the organisation. That’s what Lean Champion is all about.


What will you learn?

Over two days, Lean Champion will equip delegates with the What, What Else and How of Lean:  

1. THE WHAT: Identifying and prioritising continuous improvement opportunities
The first step to becoming a Lean Champion is to understand the fundamental process of implementing lean in the real world. We’ll explore the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle and the method of rapid continuous improvement events, each with the end goal of improving quality, cost and delivery.

2. THE WHAT ELSE: The tools to implement and sustain lean improvements
The next step is the tools-based part. Here you’ll learn the ins-and-outs of all the lean buzzwords – TIMWOODS, 5S, SMED, Visual Management, Standard Work, and so on.

3. THE HOW: Engaging others in lean activities, sharing the learning and forming habits
Finally, we’ll explore the kinds of questions you should be asking, the behaviours you should exhibit and the coaching routines you can use to engage others. For many organisations this is the biggest challenge. You can understand all the methods and tools you like, but ultimately a learning culture cannot exist until it becomes habit and routine for everyone.


Did someone say games?

Over the course of the two-day programme, we will come to understand that there are two broad kinds of waste we look to eliminate when implementing lean:

  • Non-value add activities around the factory, also known as the 8 Wastes or TIMWOODS
  • Variability, or the everyday ‘unevenness’ of things through a lack of control or standardisation.

At the end of each day, we’ll gamify the process of dealing with one of these types of waste. Day One will culminate in a ‘Lean Lego Simulation’, where we will re-create the process of identifying and eliminating non-value add activities on a production line. Using Lego, we’ll see the build-up of waste in real-time and work together to improve flow.

On Day Two, we’ll look at eliminating and reducing sources of variability within a process through the medium of a medieval catapult. We’ll work on understanding different causes of variability and what’s critical to making consistent products that hit the target every time (in this case literally!).

Is this course right for you?

Lean Champion is designed specifically for those who are taking on the role of continuous improvement specialist in their organisation, or those who already have that role but want to increase their skills and knowledge.

  • Are you onboard with continuous improvement?
    Like our Made for Manufacturing and Production Leader programmes, Lean Champion is for SME manufacturers who are dedicated to becoming a learning organisation and are committed to ensuring they have the appropriate leadership skills to get there at all levels of the business.
  • Do you struggle to find lean training that you can actually relate to?
    Lean courses tend to be attuned to companies who can devote significant resources dedicated to continuous improvement, but most SMEs cannot do this. In your organisation, your lean champion may be juggling a number of additional roles. In this case, practicing what you preach and exhibiting the right behaviours becomes even more important. If you fit this description, Lean Champion is ideal for you.
  • Do you prefer hands-on learning that puts theory into practice?
    While we’ll provide the learning material for those who need it, we won’t be spending time spoon-feeding delegates with theory. What we’ll really be focusing on over the two days is how the tools and theories fit together in the real-world. In other words, you will come out understanding how to convince people of the value of doing 5S, rather than just coming out knowing yourself what the 5Ss are.


Sound good?

If Lean Champion sounds suitable for your business, sign up now. Organisations eligible for Lean Champion may also be eligible for the Production Leader and Made for Manufacturing programmes, so if you’re unsure which one is right for you, get in touch with an advisor via the link below.

Sign up now

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