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ALC’s ARTICLE SERIES

Self-Audit: How do you know that you have an effective operation?

Five questions every Lean Manager should ask on the shop floor…



A good lean operation is agile enough to respond to most problems and self-correct with minimal impact on the business.

We are often asked to audit businesses and advise how to improve efficiency, reduce cost and increase quality. Here’s a simple test – try it on your business and let us know how you get on.
You become aware of a problem on the shop floor; a lack of product coming through, machines being switched off, or there’s some kind of commotion so you go to investigate.

Try asking the following questions:

What’s the current Situation?
This is your opening question to engage with your team

What’s the Standard?
How should things be working?

What’s the Gap?
What are the implications?
You’re looking for the team to have identified the risks to quality, throughput, reliability etc… in order to prioritise actions

What’s the Plan?
This is the most important question. Working with an empowered team means that problems are identified and fixed as (or before) they occur. The team are aware of the situation, have planned for it and are able to put countermeasures in place to mitigate the risk. Importantly, we recommend you avoid stepping in to solve the issue or the next time there’s a similar problem you will be expected to solve it!

What Support do you need from me?
You are recognising here that businesses may require help, although again, you’re suggesting that your intervention may not be required – this is the empowering behaviour that you’re seeking to become everyday habit.

If you can get answers to all the above, then congratulations, you’re running an effective Lean team. If you don’t then contact us to find out how we can help.

ALC Ltd.

ALC Ltd.

Driving Efficiency in Business

We take Lean principles derived from Manufacturing and apply them across all industry sectors:

  • Manufacturing
  • Service
  • Administration

Lean is a universal concept!

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