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Friday, August 24, 2012

Lean Shares Series: Kevin Wack, Lean Sensei Master Blackbelt

Welcome to the 4th edition of Lean Shares for the month of August. This week our feature MBB is Kevin Wack.

1.    What is lean to you? 
Lean is simply a mindset or philosophy that when adopted has an organization and all its employees thinking about the customer, what the customer values, what the customer wants and what the customer might need.  That same organization and set of employees work to deliver the customers’ wants and needs as efficiently and waste free as possible, thereby providing as much value to their customer as possible. 
2.  What impact has lean had on your workplace, in your life? 
One of my favorite quotes is ‘people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year, but underestimate what they can accomplish in ten years’...  In my workplace lean has made a significant impact as we’ve been working at it in varying degrees for five years, so we’re half way to the ten year mark.  Many of our branches are making amazing headway while others are just beginning, so many of our gains are sticking.  It’s encouraging for me to see that people at all levels are working lean and adopting the customer value mindset. 
Lean’s impact on my life has been remarkable;  I’ve been able to achieve many of my goals, write and publish a book (Level One Lean – check it out on Amazon!), I’ve come to truly understand what Lean is and more importantly what it is not.  I love to teach and coach and I’ve had many opportunities to do that.  Cutting waste from one’s personal life has a tremendous amount of value, doing so has provided me with extra time to focus on my priorities.
3.   What is your favourite workplace transformation from lean? 
Too many to list.  One I recall fondly is I had been coaching a friend with a business with approximately $10mm in sales.  In their first two years they pulled out more than $400k in costs, and they know there is more to come.  Best part is they are providing more value to their customers than they were previously!

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