Case Study: Lean Project Management

This case study focuses on the effectiveness of using lean project management to evaluate, define, implement and sustain consistent operational efficiency. A small, innovative manufacturing company was struggling with a lack of clear communication for the two shifts of their production. In most cases, the company made changes on the first shift that were not being followed by the second  shift. The changes and instructions on how best to implement them were not known by the second shift personnel due to this lack of communication and inclusion of the second shift in the decision making process.

Prosit was brought in to address this problem and help the company develop a standard process for any future changes. The evaluation process uncovered several issues that needed attention. One example was only the first shift had a dedicated forklift driver assigned. The second shift operators, not having that dedicated resource, had to stop production and get the forklift themselves to move material to where it was needed. That inefficiency caused the company production and cost issues.

To solve the problems, multiple lean project management sessions were run for small groups of first shift personnel over a period of two days. The goal was to get their input on what changes could be made and create a definitive “wish list” of improvements. With that model in place, the exact same thing was done for the second shift personnel. Prosit managed both shifts; gathering the input, defining scope and documenting gaps. In the end, most of the issues stemmed from the lack of personnel on the second shift compared to the first shift.

Improvements implemented for both shifts included the new communication protocol for identifying and executing on improvements, a new protocol for shift changes and an active hiring process to staff up the second shift and establish more consistency and efficiency in the daily production cycle. Morale improved also in the second shift since they now felt fully included and listened to within the company. The management team were pleased with the recommended improvements and Prosit’s ability and willingness to integrate, improve and standardize the two shifts.

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