Lean Blitzes normally examine cross functional processes where the business realises that benefits could be realised by a more “joined up” approach to creating value for the customer. The central idea around a blitz, is that each team nominates a few key members to participate in a intensive one week away from the workplace to map the processes in detail, identify steps that don’t add value, analyse the hot spots where problems occur and propose how improvements can be made. The output of the week is a future state process map and an implementation plan describing how these improvements will be brought to fruition. The week is preceded by objective setting and scoping with senior manager sponsors and team training. It is followed by implementation support from the facilitator who supports the blitz process throughout. The blitz process aims to complete within a nine week cycle and this may limit how ambitious the improvements can be.
Real world example
This approach was used in the credit control department of a vehicle leasing company to improve the process around collecting payment and reducing aged debt. Credit controllers were nominated from across the department to participate in the blitz. The first two days focussed on mapping the “as is” process. It noted volumes of works and indicative times to complete tasks. It also highlighted hot spots (where things went wrong) and black holes (where excessive resource was consumed). By day three, the team started to map the “to be” process, proposing how work could be done differently to ensure that aged debt was reduced. They mapped the detail of the new process and, by Friday, were ready to present their recommendations to their senior manager. With the support of the manager, the team leaders and team members drew up an implementation plan, to make their proposals a reality. Not only did the value of debt decrease sharply over the coming months, the teams felt proud of the successful outcome of their work.
My next article will look at Lean Daily Management and how the technique can maintain the momentum of your Lean initiative.