Lean Consulting: What It Can Do for Your Business

Nowadays, every industry is filled with buzzwords and new operational systems promising to provide instant results and turn your company into the next money making superstar.

There are plenty of management consulting firms out there dangling these empty assurances to entice clients into trying out new systems that ultimately leave them with little actionable information.

To really jumpstart an organization and bring it to the next level of performance and efficiency, it’s time to look into lean consulting and see what it can do for your leadership team. The question is, what can this over 50 year old method do for your organization? Let Incito Consulting Group in San Francisco explain the ropes and demonstrate the overarching benefits for your organization.

What is Lean Consulting?

Lean consulting was born in the 1950’s when Toyota Motor Company adopted production practices from Ford Motor Company, while adapting them to Japanese models to create the ultimate in the lean management structure.

The inherent idea that came from this coupling is the elimination of waste. In most corporations this is done by examining and cutting what can be eliminated in transportation, overproduction, and work in progress. The ultimate goal is to use the exact right amount of resources and manpower to get the job done.

What Do Lean Consulting Firms Do?

Lean consultants assess each area of your lean manufacturing process to help you improve your internal processes and workspaces to make them more efficient. Many of them use six sigma principles to help your company improve consistency and better control your process. You may have already tried to implement this methodology with mixed results. A lean consulting firm will give you steps to successfully implement recommended changes.

Lean consulting is beneficial for many industries, including manufacturing. A lean consultant will start by meeting with you to discuss your goals. They will assess what you would most like to improve and work with you to develop strategies that accomplish this goal. Once your lean consulting firm has an idea of your desires, they will assess your manufacturing process and facilities to identify areas of improvement. They will often examine your policies and training processes, interview employees, and tour facilities to find barriers to productivity.

Many manufacturing consultants have experience in the industry and know how to implement recommended solutions. They will conduct an operational assessment to see which parts of your process might be redundant or overly complicated. After their assessment, a lean manufacturing consultant will present their findings. Your report will identify parts of the process that are impacting efficiency and quality. Your consultant will then develop strategies to improve your process to make your employees work faster and more accurately.

Benefits of Lean Consulting

Many initially view lean consulting as just a means of eliminating waste and creating more succinct ways of doing business. The fact is, there is a much greater breadth of benefit from lean consulting, which include:

Efficiency Gains

Gains in efficiency are the most synonymous with the ideal of eliminating waste in lean consulting. It’s an obvious benefit. By removing the use of any excess resources, both production and productivity become more efficient.

Improve Quality

Less obvious, but equally important, is the improvement in quality that comes with lean consulting. When a company is running more efficiently, it becomes easier to spot holes in quality production. By removing excess elements to wade through, quality becomes the focus, instead of a second thought. Quality is also improved by efficient manufacturing processes that are easy to replicate. When each employee is following the same process consistently, it’s easier to achieve the same level of quality regardless of who is working on a given project.

Ease of Management

A set framework for operations and clear paths for communication make managing via lean consulting easier than almost any other method. Learning and setting up concise methods with a lean consulting company also provide insight into what areas of a business need additional improvement, leading to a more straightforward management style.

Encourages Growth and Success

One of the less obvious, but most beneficial, gains from lean consulting is the path it provides to growth and success. When an organization is functioning at maximum efficiency, it’s easy to see where resources can be allocated to further grow the company. Say a lean consultant helps to cut production costs by 10 percent, that amount can now be rolled back into the company to promote additional growth in current markets or to expand into new ones. The possibilities for utilizing these newly found assets is endless, and the more efficiency achieved, the more success that can be attained.

More Than a Gimmick: A Business System & Philosophy

Lean consulting companies aren’t selling you a gimmick or the latest fad. They are providing tools that allow you to reinvigorate and reimagine a business from management on down to the workers that are the heart of the company. It’s about using insight to inspire transformation company wide.

How Much Do Lean Consulting Firms Charge?

Many factors go into the per-project fee for a lean consultant. You’ll pay more for an experienced project manager who is familiar with the industry and has evaluated multiple companies. On average, consultants charge about $75 an hour but might charge upwards of $300. Some lean consulting firms charge a lump sum for each project based on its scope, while others bill hourly.

These factors also influence cost:

  • Your location
  • Project scope
  • Project length
  • Travel and reimbursable expenses

Before hiring a consultant, set a realistic budget for your project. Do some industry research to see what similar projects cost and outline your terms and conditions in writing before the project starts.

You can save money by attending various 5S workshops that help you learn about the process. However, if your processes are complicated or you need to overhaul your entire workplace, a consultant can save you money. They will outline clear implementation strategies and might even stay on to help you train your employees on the new process. Once your team becomes familiar with efficient methods, they will likely improve in quality and quantity without you having to increase their hours.

These factors can help improve your profitability over time because you have more inventory to sell without having to pay overtime or hire more employees.

Jumpstart Your Company’s Journey

For those in the San Francisco area looking to jumpstart their company’s journey to sustainable, efficient results, it’s time to look into Incito Consulting Group’s Lean Consulting Program. Take the first steps to partner with a team that will go above and beyond to move your company towards its most efficient and effective operations.

Want to learn more? Schedule a consultation.

About how Incito can help transform your business and tackle your most important strategic challenges.