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case studies

Lean Improvement Event

Lean Improvement Event (5 day practical workshop)


Lighthouse Consultants, utilising the original first principles developed by Toyota in the Toyota Production System, combined with the latest LEAN techniques from LERC and the LEAN Enterprise Academy, have developed a Lean Process Improvement Event designed to give team members, supervisors, managers and change agents an understanding of the philosophy of Lean, as well as practical tools to make a difference in the workplace. 

The Lean Process Improvement Event focuses on improving a single process, or Value Stream, and resolving issues with the current situation.  All aspects of the course outlined below will be covered, so all delegates have a full understanding of lean concepts and techniques. However, the course is tailored to each event, with more or less time spent on each technique, as appropriate to the process concerned.  The course is fully practical, with a limited time spent on theory and worked examples and the majority of the event spent on improving the process concerned.

This enables the team to see immediate results for the application of lean techniques, as well as a theoretical grounding to allow them to transfer the theory to other processes within their area.

Course Outline

Suggested Sessions (tailored by Event)

Toyota Production System Principle

Course Content

Benefits to the team or department


Day 1

1 – Long Term Philosophy


Value Streams

Internal Customer Chains

Voice of the Customer, including ‘Critical to Quality’ (CTQ) tree diagram

Clear understanding of what is required by their customers

Clearly defined process requirements.

Voice of the Customer statements.

Day 1/2

2 – Continuous Process Flow

Value Stream Mapping

Identifying ‘Value Adding’ and ‘Non-Value Adding’ steps

Identifying the 7 Wastes

One piece flow

Work Cells and Layout, including ‘Spaghetti Diagrams’

Process measurements

Clear understanding of the current process and its issues, particularly any perceived overarching problem

Process map of the current process, with basic analysis of each step.

Identification of current issues and possible root causes.

Day 2

3 – Pull

Takt Time – based on actual customer demand and requirements Pull Systems, including Kanban

Understanding of the link between customer requirements and work output actually required.

Calculations of outputs required.

Analysis of products and requirements, showing key customer demands.

Day 3 onwards

Future State Mapping

Blue Sky Visioning, using 4-pen brainstorming

Top-down hierarchical process development

Detailed process mapping

Opportunity to design the ideal process, without undue influence of current restrictions. 

Focus on customer requirements.

Practical process development.

A creative vision of Utopia.

A practical new process, with detailed steps.

Agreed appropriate process measures, based on customer requirements.

Links between proposed process and solutions to current issues.

Day 3

4 – Levelling

Line Balancing in a service environment – how to smooth everyone’s workload

SMED – how to change from one job to another without wasting time

Understanding of how work can be smoothed and scheduled according to actual customer requirements

Basic calculations showing new work content and associated resources required.

Day 4

5 – Quality

The 6 Basics of Auto-Quality

-       Quality Wall

-       Self-inspection

-       OK 1st Piece

-       Rework under control

-       Poka-Yoke

-       Red Bins

Understanding of how individuals can be empowered to regulate quality

Additional detail to add to the new process.

Day 4

6 – Standardisation

Standard Work

Standard Operating Procedures

Clarity on the importance of a standard way of working and how it can reduce issues

Development of new working procedures, and an action plan for any outstanding ones required

Day 4

7 – Visual Control

5S Workplace Organisation

Visual Management

Pride in the department and a clear view to any visitors of the process and progress.

Where possible, and appropriate, 5S is implemented in at least one area of the department.

Draft Visual Management boards set up to demonstrate new process measures.

Day 5

9, 10, 11 Develop your People

Top 5 Meetings

Introduction to Autonomous Teams

How to involve the wider team and integrate continuous improvement

Action plans for implementation

Day 5

12, 13, 14 Root Cause Problem Solving

Problem Solving Cycles

Problem Solving Tools, including 5 Whys etc

Gap Analysis

Ease/Impact Matrix

These would be in use throughout the week, and highlighted here as a review of the week

Prioritised action plans for any outstanding items.

Presentation to sponsor and managers.

Who should attend?

A team of 8-12, representing all aspects of the selected process.  The workshop is carried out on site, and is intensely practical, making changes to the process, or value stream, during the five days.

The delegates must therefore have the support of senior management and the ability to make decisions about their own work area.

Categories: lean, training

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