Lean Tips



Quickly deployable solutions to everyday issues


The Daily Stand Up Meeting

How do you know if you are doing a good job – and more importantly, how does your team know it?

Lean best practice is to hold a Daily Stand Up meeting every morning with the following 3 objectives:

  • Assess how well the team performed the previous day
  • Identify the issues or concerns the team has that could affect their performance
  • Discuss the plan for today
Covering these 3 simple elements creates a focus at the start of the day to motivate, communicate and inform.


Reducing the Waste of Motion (Warehousing)

Reducing the waste of motion when picking from your warehouse means your staff can spend more time fulfilling customer orders and less fetching and carrying goods from the shelves and racking.

Identifying the fast movers and optimising their stock location or dividing stock into Bulk and Pick stock are good actions to start with.

Improvements to layout will reduce non-value added activities and give you the ability to meet customer demand with less effort and the changes will add to their quality of life too!


Standard Work and SOPs

Standard work is the concept of people doing the same thing, in the same way in a consistent and best practice manner.

It provides a stable basis to set consistent quality and drive performance improvement and should apply to every value adding activity in your business.

If your team have a different way of working each process, how can you drive consistent quality and increase productivity?

For example, a client had 4 technicians each cutting and wiring up lamps but with their own method of creating the final product.  The result was different wire lengths, wiring routes, assembly times and potentially different quality levels across the team. Part of our work with them was to develop a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to drive consistent methods, quality and timings across the team.


Continuous Improvement & the PDCA cycle

Making Continuous Improvement happen every day in your business is the ideal for an effective and efficient operation.  The PlanDoCheckAct methodology or Deming cycle is the means by which teams can create Continuous Improvement to their everyday work.

However, making Continuous Improvement part of your everyday life takes time and effort.  You need to create the means by which Problems can be raised; we recommend this as an element of your Daily Stand Up meeting.

Allocate time on a regular basis for structured problem solving. Include a cross section of your staff to get their buy-in and follow a consistent Root Cause Analysis and problem solving process.


Spaghetti Maps - Reducing the waste of movement

How can you identify the waste of material movement and create flow in your production processes?

Start by mapping the major process steps within the site – from goods in to despatch, and then plotting the movement of goods between workstations on a plan of your facility.  When you add in the orders for a couple of days, you can see the waste through the spaghetti that has been created on the map.


Inventory control - an intro to ABC analysis

Do you buy what you sell or find that you need to sell what you’ve already bought is a key strategic question where Procurement plays a critical role. The ABC Analysis is a good way to analyse your stock holding and compare your stock levels with the most active SKUs you sell.

You’ll need to download Sales history by SKU but can then plot the results on a chart to define the As, the Bs and the C stock products. 

The results should drive your stocking policy – plenty of A items whilst disposing of D stocks that take up valuable space and absorb cash.



A turnback is anything in a series of sequential steps that causes the pace of work to stop or need correction.  They’re usually found in Admin processes and may only cause delay to a process – or might cause knock-on effects and defects further down the value chain.

Record where in your processes your Turnbacks occur. Then discuss with the appropriate team, creating a Pareto chart of the main culprit areas.

From this, you should be able to feed into your standard PDCA problem solving routine and develop the best actions to take.


What Does Good Look Like?

How do you know if your team are doing an average job or performing exceptionally? Do you know what ‘good’ looks like?

As Peter Drucker, the Management Consultant and prolific author said, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”  But what do we need to measure?

Start by measuring any time or quality-based activity that your team perform. If it moves, or is a regular activity, then count and record it. This should be in every area of every business: Manufacturing, Distribution, Sales, Service and Admin too.  Once you can establish the normal, you can discuss what really good performance looks like and how to reach it.


Visual Management

Visual Management helps you, as a manager, to see the status of work within your business.
By visually representing complex information, these systems empower teams to swiftly see where
bottlenecks occur and respond promptly to deviations against plan.

Using charts, colour-coded indicators, and signage, Visual Management Systems facilitate real-time
communication, ensuring that crucial information is easily accessible and comprehensible to all team members.

This approach not only minimises confusion and human errors but also promotes a shared sense of
ownership and accountability.


Quick Changeovers

How much time do you spend with your machines and people idle whilst switching from one product to another?

The Quick Changeover process identifies and simplifies all the activities you need to go through to switch assembly from product ‘A’ to the first good item of Product ‘B’.

We’ve used this structured and disciplined approach with clients to reduce idle time, increase OEE and reduce lead time with the production of foods, industrial hardware and low volume, high variety builds.

Making Quick Changeover work allows you to reduce manufacturing costs significantly: you can reduce batch sizes, space requirements and on-site inventory too!

Still Confused About How Lean Can Help? Contact us for more information

Don’t wait to see if things will improve. Delays will only impact your company and your customers and serves your competition.

So don’t delay, contact us today.