Brainstorming Consulting and Training

Lean Healthcare Systems


Lean Training Program

We received the following question:
We recently attempted to transition to lean methods but it was not successful. The problem, I feel, is that the training program was strictly in-class. The consultants did work through a few simulations in class, but because it was all done in a classroom none of the material stuck. It never did transfer to the floor. This is very discouraging! We paid to have nearly 30% of our workforce trained in lean systems but there were no results.

Knowing this, why do you feel your program would be any better?

Description of Lean Training and Implementation Program

This is not uncommon; but we do understand your frustration. My intent is not to criticize your consultants but I can immediately identify problems based simply on your question. First, there must be an opportunity for the trainees to "use" what they are learning. As individuals are introduced to concepts in the classroom they must immediately take that new knowledge to the floor. Our training, certification, and implementation program is divided equally between classroom material and actual implementation.

Simulations are also a part of our program. They are effective however only if training participants implement the new techniques in the workplace. Simulations and classroom material alone are not effective. The knowledge absolutely must be utilized in the workplace during training.

This is the only way to truly teach the material. It also allows the trainees the opportunity to ask questions as they implement lean systems. If classroom material alone was sufficient one could learn the material by simply reading the many publications available; but that simply is not the case. Learning, experimentation, and implementation must take place simultaneously. In fact, our program is 50% classroom and simulation and 50% implementation.

Another issue is the fact that such a small percentage of your workforce were trained. All associates including management personnel must be trained. All hourly employees must at least complete the Lean Practitioner training. Beyond this level others who have excelled in the Practitioner training then undergo Champion and a smaller group proceeds to the Sensei training.

We typically identify one noticeable problem area to begin training and implementation. From there, this pilot project serves to encourage others to shift to lean methods and to want to learn lean techniques. Upon completion of the pilot project the rest of the organization are then trained in groups based on product family.

I wish you the best and do recommend you find a more thorough consulting group. If interested, feel free to contact us. We can certainly be more effective in implementing lean throughout your entire organization.

Feel free to contact us if you have further questions or would like to schedule a lean overview.

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