Chagrin River Consulting

Our Approach

How We Help You Implement Lean Manufacturing


We use a distinctly hands-on approach.  Lean manufacturing tools are easy enough to learn.  Implementing lean manufacturing tools is another thing altogether.  That requires hard work, discipline, follow-through and ongoing attention.  A simple training model isn't adequate (you know....train all the troops in basic lean methods and hope they figure out how to apply them).  On-site coaching and counseling and real-time education and training is the key.

Here's how we go about it.  (Click here to go to my blog for articles that provide more detail for each of these stages.)


Gathering Information
First, we gather information about your organization.  We take the trouble to talk with you and your employees about the business.  We also tell workers and managers what we're doing and how we're going to help implement lean manufacturing.  (Few things make workers more nervous that a stranger running around the shop floor with a pencil and pad.)  We find out what you're already doing well and what you need to work on.  We learn something about the culture of your business.  We then coach you through five phases.

Strategy and Spread the Word
We work with you to develop a implementation plan and a calendar.  And metrics to keep track of progress.  We know lean but you know your business.  We collaborate with you on a plan that everybody buys into. We do this in a series of half-day planning sessions. 

Then we work with you in communicating the plan to everyone in the organization. 


Sort and Shine
During the next phase, you start putting your house in order.  Lean depends on operational excellence; operational excellence is founded on orderliness.

We work with supervisors and team leaders as they develop and carry out a schedule that gets every area Sorted (keep the important stuff and get rid of the rest) and Shined (cleaned, mopped, painted, de-greased, swept, wiped down).  Shined also means "inspected".  Teams take careful note of the condition of equipment and see that it gets brought back to optimal operating standard.

Sort and Shine sounds easy but requires new habits and discipline on everyone's part.  We coach and teach you and your associates as you instill this level of discipline.


Straighten and See
After Sort and Shine, associates straighten up what remains and provide a visible "address" for everything.  Everything has a place and that place is designated and labeled.

We also deploy a variety of visual controls that allow you to track movement of materials and information, work conditions and status, and operator and work center performance.

Simplify and Solve
During this phase, we teach and facilitate team problem solving, value stream mapping, set up reduction, creation of cells, and pull scheduling and production.

Standardize and Sustain
We "lock in" all the gains from the previous phases by documenting new processes, task instructions, and policies. 

Five stages to success.  It's not rocket science.  But if was easy, everybody would be doing it.  We'll help you through the rough parts.  We'll help you be successful.

Can we skip steps?  After all, why not cut right to the chase?

In a word...no.  There are no short cuts and no quick fixes.  Many have tried the "get right to the 5S and creating manufacturing cells" approach.  Nearly all of them have failed.  Our approach is proven.  Five steps to success.


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