How do you choose a lean manufacturing consultant to match your type of business?
Although using the services of a lean manufacturing consultant is not a new idea, there are still some important things to
think about before making the final choice. No matter what type of business, if you’re looking for a lean manufacturing coach or consultant, you’re looking to eliminate waste, and improve the productivity and quality of your products or services in order to reduce business operating costs. So, how do you tell the difference between the right lean consultant and the wrong one? If you are armed with good information it might be an easier decision than you think!
1. The most important thing to look at is the type and the size of your business. Will hiring a lean manufacturing consultant deliver an acceptable “return on investment (ROI)” for your company? I know this is a difficult question to answer because at the point of making the decision to use a lean consultant you probably won’t know what your acceptable ROI is. You will need to decide on the key deliverables and how they impact your bottom line. It’s important to take this into consideration, especially if you run a small size business.
2. The next step is to choose a lean manufacturing consultant who has some experience in your particular business environment. For example, it would not be the best choice to use someone who specializes in supply chain logistics when your company really needs someone with experience in metal fabrication or small part assembly. The simple fact is that you can’t just flip open the phone book to search the listings for a lean manufacturing consultant. You need to know as much as possible about their personality, background, and level of experience, especially in your field. When you do find a consultant, ask them to show you examples of their recent work, such as case studies, reports, etc.
3. The final consideration before choosing a lean manufacturing consultant is probably the most difficult one. You will need to have a face to face meeting to determine if they have the right type of personality to work with you and your employees. It’s important to remember that many lean manufacturing consultants have a reputation for being straight forward and to the point. They will ask open questions and dig deep to find the answers. This is because the most effective consultants will always challenge the status quo in order to find room for improvement within a business.
In this economy it’s important that we discover better ways to use our financial and intellectual capital to grow our business and improve the value added services to our customers. If you make the right choice, an experienced lean manufacturing consultant can help you achieve this goal.
Our senior Lean Manufacturing Coach, Chris Turner, has 25 years of experience in the Continuous Process Improvement field, and has created “Lean Certification Online” to serve the lean improvement needs of manufacturing and non-manufacturing organizations.