A Lean Audit is simply a process where I go to a business per their request and walk through, looking for areas that could be made more efficient. I am often surprised by how often the problem presented seems painfully simple to solve.
What I found is that these companies have one thing in common: they can’t see what’s going on because they are operating from a place of doing things the way they have always done and have accepted that reality.
Here are some real-life examples that, if they ring true for you or your company, you could benefit from a fresh perspective and a Lean Audit.
Owner Storing Personal Equipment
A problem I see often is that the owner of the business is storing personal property on-site. It is their space after all, but when this is causing a working environment that hinders employee productivity, it is easily resolved – move it. Employees will likely not challenge the owner’s placement of equipment, even if it is a problem, so it usually takes an outside force (such as myself) to show the owner how detrimental it is to employee productivity and offer better alternatives.
Another recurring issue I see is abundant amounts of dead inventory. It could be that a purchaser tried to take advantage of a bulk quantity deal and is simply storing unused product, or it could be that parts are still being held that will not ever be used.
It may seem silly to think companies would hold on to obsolete products, but it often comes down to a fear of how to dispose of them – what if they are needed one day? The truth is, just like your closet at home, if you haven’t worn it in the past year, you probably won’t use it next year, and it should be donated, sold or thrown out. A lean audit can help identify what is truly obsolete, and what can be re-purposed.
Some companies choose to move into a new location because they simply run out of space. However, in many cases, I find that they can stay in their current space by making it more efficient. Putting complimentary departments closer together, removing dead inventory, improving processes to move stored goods, and repairing broken machinery are just a few ways companies avoided the costs of moving by becoming more space efficient.
Chasing Customers for Information
Sometimes inefficiency comes in the form of poor communication. If you are finding that you are chasing clients for information because it wasn’t complete when it landed on your lap by a salesperson or field rep, or multiple departments are creating vendor or client files rather than sharing information, you can benefit from a Lean Audit.
High Employee Frustration/Turnover
Finally, a lean audit is ideal for companies who experience high employee frustration and resulting turnover. Often times this shows a clear hole in a process – whether on the hiring side (are you doing the right things to get the right people?) or with internal policies. Do your processes create frustration? Where is information falling through the cracks? What processes, policies or procedures are killing morale?
Overall, a lean audit helps to identify holes in processes and seeks to solve them, not just put a bandage fix. If any of the above scenarios sound like a problem you have been facing, I recommend we schedule a phone call to discuss your concerns and potential solutions.
PBEX, LLC provides a complete review and analysis of the business processes that create efficiency and profitability, and the barriers to them, in a process we call a Lean Audit walk through. Providing consulting and lean process improvement training, we are ready to support your organizational goals. Contact us today to learn more about lean business management and to schedule your review with a process improvement expert.