Lean Management to Improve Performance

    Commercial and Industrial companies currently face an exceptionally challenging business environment. On the one hand the global economic crisis of recent years has led to a dramatic slump in demand, while still causing significant pressure on the revenue side of companies. On the other hand, high price levels for raw materials are causing a financial strain for enterprises’ procurement sides. Internal costs of operations also remain regularly challenged.

    Responding to these challenges, companies are more than ever forced to improve internal factors within their area of control.

    One of the most important levers in this respect is the improvement of core manufacturing operations; that is, increasing efficiency and taking costs out of production and the logistics business processes.
    The issue in Engineering is that products must be developed faster, more often, while responding to customer wish and needs and maintaining the design quality. Innovation must be sustained permanently.
    In the Services and in the companies' support functions, productivity is a stake: wasting time in files processing and longer delays cannot be admitted anymore, first time quality documents must delivered, mostly as a result of a real, organised teamwork. Every information flow can be improved, the quality of work and the relevance of the operations strengthened, and the delivery times reduced.

    However, expectations may vary from a company to another :

    The figure below illustrates BearingPoint’s approach to Lean Management. The approach consists of different elements including objectives, principles as well as a fundament.


    Whereas the just in time element aims at a continuous pull-oriented flow of goods, the Jidoka element focuses on incorporating quality into the operational process. By eliminating waste, the processes are streamlined along value adding activities. People and teamwork stress empowerment of employees and respect for humans. The fundament comprises standardisation, visual management and demand levelling (Heijunka). Finally the central element of continuous improvement aims at on-going process optimisation.

    BearingPoint offers a broad range of solutions for improving commercial and industrial companies’ operational performance. BearingPoint accumulated experience and knowledge by developing and supporting Lean programs in Manufacturing, Product Development and Engineering, Support functions and Services, and ERP implementation in line with continuous improvement in Manufacturing. BearingPoint also trains people to Lean Management.

    Lean Manufacturing
    Lean Manufacturing programmes sometimes mainly consist of implementing Lean Tools rather than a real Lean Mindset. Thus, results are often not aligned with expectations. Lean 2.0 offer will help you change management style, behaviour and attitudes; meaning develop Lean awareness in management and sustain Lean actions. This is based upon several kinds of actions like seminars, training, coaching and workshops.
    Orders are delivered late, bottlenecks appear in the production line, reducing cycle time has become mandatory to increase productivity. With ‘System deployment’, BearingPoint can help you define a Lean system and deploy a Lean model through large organizations, with equivalent maturity, and consistency. This is based upon training, coaching, assessments and formalization.
    Lean Manufacturing system is operational and giving its best results, but some issues still remain and are linked to Manufacturing support functions. ‘Lean Initiatives alignment’ is the way to develop Lean management in e.g. Quality, Procurement, Logistics to align their organization and operations on Lean guidelines. This is based upon the definition of a new operating model, new tools and new management standards.

    Lean Engineering and Product Development
    In the challenging environment companies are facing, developing faster and more products has become a reality. At stake is the ability to develop more products in a shorter time. Lean Engineering is a best-in-class solution. BearingPoint has a three step methodology giving proven excellent results.
    First 'Assess', to understand what Lean Management Guidelines are, assess the company Lean maturity level, to define the program, and then train managers and directors. This aims at driving and/or assisting pilot implementations.
    The ‘Prove’ step is a major one: made to apply the Lean approach on a limited but consistent perimeter like a design unit or a research centre. The real goal is to prove with measurable results that the Lean management can bring the needed results.
    Last phase, ‘Systemise’ helps to define the Lean Engineering System based on common and standard processes and proven, on the field, best practices. This drives to align pilot R&D units and adjust the initial core model. The Lean System is deployed through the entire engineering organization with equivalent maturity, and consistency. Trainings, coaching, permanent assessment and formalization are the building blocks of this win-win approach.

    Lean Services
    In many Services companies, as in the support functions departments, improving productivity can be brought with Lean Services. To avoid too long information delivery, longer validation loops or systems, inappropriate decision levels, and so on. BearingPoint has developed a three step approach, dedicated to such activities.
    First step is to 'Assess': understand what Lean Management Guidelines are, assess Lean maturity level and define the Lean Management program, and train managers and directors. This is made to drive and assist pilot implementations.
    The ‘Solve’ phase aims at transforming an internal support process or a customer service process to reduce its lead time and increase its reliability. Through a Kaizen approach and after a process reengineering, it helps to facilitate the process ownership and the cross service work. As a result, lead time and cost issues are solved, and business process management is enhanced.
    Last step, ‘Systemise’. A Lean Enterprise System is defined, based on common and standard processes and already proven best practices. Pilot Lean workshops help to adjust the system. Because the goal, more than only deploying the Lean System through the organisation with equivalent maturity and consistency, is to align processes and adjust the core model to the field realities. A Lean Academy is set, in order to train people; coaching helps too. Assessment and formalisation are essential to the success.

    Lean ERP
    In practice Lean Manufacturing and ERP are often pursued separately from each other, often leading to sub-optimal results and lost opportunities. However BearingPoint’s experience and research has shown that an integration of Lean Manufacturing and ERP promises significant improvement potentials for manufacturing companies both on the operations and the IT side. In light of several positive practical experiences, BearingPoint developed an integrated solution called “Lean-ERP”. Lean-ERP leverages the virtues of both Lean Manufacturing and Enterprise Resource Planning in order to derive sustainable of bottom line improvements for manufacturing enterprises.

    The adjacent figure illustrates this basic approach and the guiding principles of our lean manufacturing approach graphically. Many manufacturing improvement initiatives either aim at improving operational processes by applying Lean Manufacturing (A->X), or at improving information technology by implementing ERP (A->Y). In contrast, BearingPoint’s Lean-ERP solution integrates LM and ERP into one single initiative and thereby leverages synergies potentials of both concepts (A->B). This leads to a derivation of bottom line results, which are transferred and reflected in a business case calculation.

    Generally there are two different areas for applying the Lean-ERP solution. Existing process and IT-landscapes and new process and IT landscapes.

    In order to help companies verify their individual improvement potential, we propose applying BearingPoint’s quick-scan methodology. The quick-scan sets out to determine the “Lean Maturity Level” of a manufacturing site in a considerably short period of time. Based upon that, improvement potentials and concrete bottom line results can be derived.

    Lean Training
    Training people company-wide is a key factor of success in Lean Management programs. BearingPoint has set several training modules for several populations, from operational level to top management. These modules can bring your people from awareness to expertise.
    The ‘Lean awareness’ Module is to be run to convince top management on the approach and to support and manage teams in charge of implementation
    The ‘Awareness/simulation’ Module is made for operational teams in charge of implementation (Managers and teams)
    The ‘Action training’ Expert module on lean & Six-Sigma tools has been designed for Managers in charge of performance improvement projects and operational.
    The ‘Train the trainer’ Module will ensure the transfer of knowledge to the trainer and to make your system perennial


    How BearingPoint brings value

    Lean Maturity Level
    BearingPoint’s lean maturity level is an indicator that surmises the current state of an organisational unit in the lean journey. The results can be used to derive business improvement potentials and bottom line results.

    BearingPoint’s Lean-ERP solution integrates the virtues of Lean Manufacturing and Enterprise Resource Planning into one single initiative meaning synergies of both manufacturing improvement concepts can be leveraged and turned into business improvements that promise measurable bottom line results.

    Team work
    A clear definition of roles and responsibilities centred on the point where the value is added to the product: Production, Manufacturing Engineering, Engineering, Quality, Sourcing, Logistics… work as one team with shared objectives. The lean principles and approach apply to all functions

    Pragmatic definition of standards by the teams
    Standard are defined either by experts and then tested on pilot zones before being fully deployed, either by operational teams, based on their identified best practices. The standards are used to build roadmaps and the audit tool when applying to large organisations.

    Working at gemba (shop floor) level
    Strong involvement of all quality staff and organization. Good work from field teams and site management to prepare and ensure deployment

    Virtual Obeya: Sharing sites positive experiences and difficulties
    Initialization of regular meetings to share experience and difficulties about deployment/model and change request process to update and control core model or documents evolutions


    • Patrick Palmgren

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