Posted by: knightbird | September 20, 2010

Training a Lean Champion

Without the ability to introduce a culture of Lean, it is very unlikely that an attempt at a Lean transformation will succeed. Without the tools of Lean, it is unlikely that a culture of Lean will survive. As the Executive of an organization learns their role as an evangelist of Lean, some employees need to become extremely competent at the analytical tools of Lean. I wrote earlier about Chugachmiut’s Lean Champion Training Matrix. We have listed the most commonly used tools of Lean, and our Lean Champion recruits are being trained in the Standard Work of Kaizen.

To refresh your memories a bit, a Kaizen is an analytical event. Using facts, the most common path for a Kaizen is to start with a Value Stream Map. Then various tools are used to brainstorm improvements to the Value Stream. Among the tools we use and train are Affinity Diagrams, Spaghetti Diagrams, Cause and Effect Diagrams with the Addition of Cards (CEDAC), the 5 Why’s, the A-3, Standard Work and the 5S+2. There are many other tools available, but a majority of our improvement events do extremely well with those listed.

As with anything new, it can be intimidating to direct a Kaizen on your own. Our method starts with a very general introduction to Lean 101. You need to learn a common language in order to communicate well, so we teach that common language. Our Lean Champion trainees are mentored by our Lean Coordinator, who has conducted a couple of hundred days of Kaizen. As they learn the tools, they begin to take responsibility for a Kaizen under the watchful tutelage of our Lean Coordinator.

We just had such an event a couple of weeks ago. Our Contract Health Process has a very small budget that we use to send patients for treatment that we are not able to provide internally. We have Kaizened the process 3 or 4 times already. Because it so directly impacts our patients, Contract Health is always under scrutiny. Our Trainee watched our Lean Coordinator introduce the Kaizen, then took over by applying the tools learned to date, and guiding the Kaizen participants to a good conclusion.

Our Lean Champion Trainees are volunteers, and conduct Kaizen outside of their normal job duties. They are incredibly valuable to Chugachmiut because they are willing to become proficient in the tools of Lean, and to use them for the benefit of their co-workers, teamwork at its very best.

With our Training Within Industry focus, we can train any employee to become a Lean Champion. All they need is a willingness to learn, and a willingness to work in a team environment. And by going through Kaizen, our employees learn the tools from the Lean Champions. This enables them to do rapid mini-improvement events without the necessity of engaging a Lean Champion’s assistance.

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