"Lean" seems to be everywhere. What started as Western manufacturers emulating Toyota's unique production methods has now been implemented in every industry from healthcare to the public sector. There is Lean Accounting, Lean Sigma, Lean Service – I’ve even seen ‘Value-Based Lean Six Sigma (VBLSS) teams – now there’s a mouthful! The tools springing from this "methodology" are point-effective. By that I mean that the tools are effective at solving a single problem, but unless the underlying philosophy is embraced, the result will be limited to that issue, that point.
What's missing is a Lean Mindset. We run around the operation as hammers, seeing nails everywhere. Instead, we need to give voice to our inner engineer, and our inner leadership guru. Engineers stake their careers on analyzing problems and designing solutions, and the leadership gurus facilitate change in an organization. If we, as operators, supervisors, managers, and executives have a common approach to our work and our work environment, we think not of 'change', but 'improvement'. We also think of improvement as global - if my job gets easier, but my internal customer's or supplier's job gets harder, it may or may not be the right move, depending on the overall cycle time, transparency, and quality.
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Six Sigma and Lean Training: For Manufacturing and Beyond
Lean and Six Sigma are two efficiency techniques that came to prominence because of the positive impact they can have on a business’ manufacturing process. This leads some business leaders in non-manufacturing industries to question the applicability of Lean and Six Sigma methods for their specific business. However, management teams who overlook the positive potential of Lean Six Sigma training may be costing their companies time and money. This article will explore the importance of these techniques and how they might already apply to the needs of your business.
Lean approaches call on business leaders to closely analyze their company’s processes and attempt to cut out any unnecessary steps or movements. Some of the common results of this process include a reduction in inventory or quicker turnaround times. Regardless of what product or service you are selling, issues of waste and inventory do have a distinct impact on your bottom line. Lean Training will show you how to map out your workflows, identify waste, and initiative improvements.
Six Sigma is also a method of analysis designed to promote efficiency. These approaches are rooted in statistics and allow for an unbiased and logical look at the production activities of your business. Because of this statistical focus, Six Sigma most commonly offers up results that are performance-based and focused on reducing your costs. Effective Lean Six Sigma training will help you identify and use the best techniques for calculating different measures of efficiency that apply beyond the manufacturing industry.
WillowTree Advisors Approved Provider of Lean Consulting Services to the Federal Government
DENVER (October 28, 2011) – Next month WillowTree Advisors (WTA), a business and change management consulting firm, will begin providing business transformation and Lean consulting services to the Federal Government with recent approval from the General Services Administration (GSA) under the MOBIS Schedule, SIN 874.1, contract number GS-10F-0002Y.
Today’s economic and political pressures have pushed governments to do more with less. Lean Government methodology enables agencies and public entities to do more with the resources they have and provide better services to their stakeholders and constituents.
“The application of Lean techniques to business processes can save time, reduce waste and eliminate costs – while improving customer and employee satisfaction,” said Kathryn Douglass, WillowTree Advisor managing partner. “This opportunity is an excellent way for the Federal Government to optimize its operations and focus on the customers and stakeholders it is serving.”
Will Lean Six Sigma Initiatives and Training Make Your People More Productive?
Process Optimization is big business these days. It seems that everyone is thinking about Six Sigma or Lean Initiatives, both in the commercial and public sectors. Lean Six Sigma Training is widely utilized as a way to get quick results. As a process optimization and operational enhancement program, Lean Six Sigma is designed to effectively improve organizational output. From increasing production to precise waste removal, this highly popular program has helped numerous companies achieve dramatic results. Whether it’s tackling costly delays or increasing efficiency, Lean Six Sigma ensures timely and productive results for all your employees and operational processes. In order to reap the benefits of this popular program, you need the services of Lean Six Sigma experts and Lean Trainers. The key to longevity and success is to develop an overarching program within which Lean Six Sigma Training and projects can be implemented.
Preparing for Outsourcing Proposal Oral Reviews
If you have put together a set of selection criteria for your outsourcing RFP, distribute and review these with all team members before they start reading. Team members can then read and make notes or indicate questions on each proposal. Your team can then complete an initial evaluation or scoring of the proposals.
When the team gets together to jointly discuss the proposal and collect questions, the initial evaluations can be discussed. However, remember that if there are questions about the proposal that must be answered, the answers and clarifications provided by the Service Provider can change the scores. Final scoring should only be done after the orals are complete, and any updates to proposals are reviewed.
Evaluating the Pricing of an Outsourcing Proposal
Some people are often surprised to learn that evaluation of the pricing of an outsourcing bid is complicated and not a strictly financial activity. Certainly the models can be run by the financial team, but the input to the normalization activity must be provided by the evaluation team.
The objective is to evaluate and compare apples to apples pricing, by building a solid business case for each bid. But before you can do this, you must normalize the price.
How to Read a Complex Strategic Sourcing Proposal
There are some recommendations here that will resonate with anyone who has ever had to read and evaluate complex proposals from multiple providers. These suggestions are derived from years of experiencing and leading these activities.
Here are some suggestions for making the task easier.
Beware the Words!
Confused by weasel words, slick marketing, vague responses? Understand that there is a secret language of outsourcing sales and proposals, known to insiders, but carefully hidden from the uninitiated. You must be aware of this language and read intelligently. This is the area that slips up most readers of proposals. Most unadvised readers will come away feeling good about what they read, when they should be feeling very suspicious and concerned.
Look for promises that appear to be too good to be true. Look for words like “we can provide…”, which indicate that they have the capability to provide a specified service, but have not necessarily included it in their bid at this point. Any description prefaced with words like “in the past we have..’ or “we will discuss with you ..” or “for client xyz we did…’ indicate that the service provider is demonstrating a capability -- but not a promise to deliver.
Service Providers hate to say no (until they have sealed the deal)
Service Providers don’t always make the answers to RFP requirements clear, especially a NO answer. Sometimes they hint at the real answer, but bury it so deep it is difficult to find. Why is this?
This, of course, is the essence of the game. Service providers are in sales mode when they respond to your RFP, so it is in their best interest to gloss over areas of weakness and emphasize strengths. Saying "no" to your requirements is a death knell in sales.
Your sourcing processes may drive them to say yes to everything, whether they mean it or not. It is often easier to tell you what you want to hear, rather than provide you with the best solution, disagree intelligently, or own up to the fact that they just “can’t/won’t” do what you have requested. The trick from their perspective is to get the sale and they will let the delivery team worry about those details later.