Introducing the idea of lean to your organization is always a broad-based initiative. The goal is to quickly unlock the opportunities for eliminating wasted effort and obtain some early wins. Optimization requires the use of multiple levers, for example, process redesign, new accountabilities for front line employees, often smaller lot sizes, training, and measurement.
Based on a comprehensive toolbox, we tailor a successful outcome to support each client’s unique situation. Lean transformation can be deployed in a variety of patterns, for example, top-down versus bottom up and a multi-site pattern, which can be done sequentially, in parallel, or in waves.
Lean for Services
Service companies are starting to pay more attention to the lean mindset—to relentlessly pursue continuous improvement in cost, quality, and service. We work with clients from the services sector in adopting a lean mindset.
Superior customer experience is a “must have” for service-based companies such as telcos, banks, and utilities. Drawing on our experiences across these industries, we developed a new approach—strategic process improvement—to transform and improve the customer experience by cutting both complexity and cost-to-serve. The results are dramatic. The “magic” lies in bringing together all of the elements of the customer experience—product design, sales proposition, order-to-activate process, underlying systems, organizational structures, incentives, training, and culture. Rethinking the relationship of these elements can reduce the work for customers, increase customer satisfaction, improve cross-selling and up-selling, and lower costs.
Lean for Product Management
Providing multiple variants of a product, numerous options, or customizable features significantly increases product complexity. Some product variety will increase market size, enable pricing flexibility, and enhance the customer experience. Excess product line complexity, however, often lowers service and quality, and confuses customers and employees alike—and cuts into profitability as a result. It may also slow product innovation because too many resources are devoted to minor product variations or customization.
We work with clients to achieve the optimum mix of complexity. For some companies the solution involves “trimming the tail”, that is, eliminating slow moving products that represent a small amount of revenues. For other companies, the answer lies in moving to a demand-pull model or offering a wide product range that is the core of their business and enabled by a centralized logistics model.
Lean for Organization Design
The opportunities for outsourcing, near-sourcing, contracting out, and pursuing different kinds of supplier partnering arrangements can create a complex and time consuming set of choices. Lean organizational design brings clarity to these decisions. Among our services:
- Listening to the “voice of the customer”
- Removing all related non-value-adding steps and processes
- Addressing bottlenecks by rebalancing resources
- Establishing an organizational structure to support continuous improvement
Alpraxis’s consulting teams bring two key approaches to lean organizational design: For business units, we work to organize their processes and relationships with other internal and external suppliers. For corporate or divisional groups, the role is different—including managing the tradeoffs and potential conflicts, creating new processes and transparent interfaces along the value chain.