The issue was already identified
IJS Global wanted to deliver improved service and look at ways of reducing costs for one of their major clients. Working collaboratively in partnership with their client was important for IJS Global so they wanted an approach that would enable them to work together with the client on improvements, rather than try to improve the process on their own.
Dismantling barriers to change
We first needed to understand what problem that IJS Global were trying to solve. This was key to designing an approach that worked for both them and their client. They felt that some of the reasons why things go wrong with their part of the process were in part due to processes completed upstream by their client.
They wanted an approach that would help their client recognise this issue and buy into their own some of the change required. It couldn’t be a one-sided approach – it needed to combine both companies working toward a common goal.
Engaging Lean Consulting to help
IJS Global approached Lean Consulting for some advice. What is the best way to to get their client and their teams working together to improve performance?
Not being located together and having a traditional Client/Supplier relationship, we suggested facilitating some workshops off site, where key stakeholders from both companies could learn together in safe, neutral environment.
We developed a series of workshops that introduced people to some basic Lean concepts, using an interactive simulation to engage people in a radically different way. We also worked through some carefully selected tools with live examples from their businesses. Lastly, we explored the 8 wastes of some of their biggest issues and then worked through Root Cause Analysis for each of them.
Finally, we brainstormed some solutions where we had enough data and set specific actions for each of the workshop attendees to complete to improve processes.
Achieving improvement outcomes
As a result of our workshops, 15 actions were agreed that solved some of the root causes identified. Some of the actions were to further investigate the root causes in partnership and come back to together to identify potential solutions.
Both IJS Global and their client left the sessions energised, with a defined set of actions of complete that would solve some of their immediate issues and some longer-term objectives that would further improve and maintain performance.
But most importantly – both companies had equal ownership of the problems and their solutions – entirely avoiding the blame game.