Business Services | 24 February 2016

Client: M2 Digital

Assignment: Introduction to Lean

M2 Digital: Introduction to Lean

The Problem

The M2 business is a relatively new business operating in the managed print services space. The

business currently has a turnover of around £35m and is growing at a rate of 30% pa, and is split

roughly 70% corporate business and 30% SME’s.


The rapid business growth is not without its challenges and the development of the business

process architecture and detailed operating processes has perhaps lagged behind the turnover

growth. The consequence of this is that the people in the work teams have to work extremely

hard to deliver acceptable customer service – sometimes this is not enough and customer

comments/complaints result.


There is a need to get to grips with the business processes and to utilise the Lean Thinking

methodology to help drive process excellence and to engage people in the business in driving

improvement. The overall objective is to ensure that the growth in headcount/costs lags behind

turnover growth. The business wanted to implement some initial lean improvements in a specific

area of the business and then use the results from this to develop a business case which justifies

the broader implementation of Lean Thinking across the business.

The Solution

Our Approach

We worked with members of the Management Team to quickly identify the area to improve. The

aims of the project were carefully defined which included:-

• Create and drive an appetite for process improvement amongst the staff

• Ensure that the business process met existing and emerging customer needs

• Maximise the use of all resources in the delivery of services

• Reduce the amount of paperwork in the system

• Improve job scheduling


We agreed that a team-based, Lean Blitz Event using the principles and tools of Lean was the best

approach to make a demonstrable and simultaneous impact on all three of these goals.


Programme Set Up & Rapid Benefits

In the pre-scoping phase, the purpose of the project was agreed and the detail of the current

process and structure was studied; the team members were identified as a mixture of SOP,

Accounts, IT and Warehouse. The team included the Business Improvement Manager who had

done a 3 day lean course but had no facilitation or hands on business improvement experience.

We trained the team in Lean and Change Management philosophies and techniques: this was a

day-long awareness session which included current state process mapping; customer/supplier

needs and the identification of waste. The team then spent a day, carefully scoping the project to

ensure that the focus of the project was clear and unambiguous. A significant amount of data was

identified for collection, some of which was currently collected but most was not, which was

carried out over 2 weeks, before the main event. A 5 day Lean Blitz Event resulted in a complete

remodelling of the process. Once the current state map was complete is was clear to all that there

were many points of duplication, long waiting times between actions, poor process sequencing

and a heavy reliance on paperwork, which would often increase waiting times and was lost on a

high frequency. There was also a lack of multi-skilling within the team, which became an urgent

issue as one member was leaving and one was about to get married and have 3 weeks away. The

team created an ideal state map and then work backwards based on what they knew could be

achieved, with some IT technical support. A new electronic ticket was designed and piloted which

not only removed the paperwork element but also provided traceability and removed waiting

time. A training process was put in place to ensure all the team were skilled in the whole process.

A number of tasks were removed from the process as they were outside the scope of the team.

An electronic filing system was set up which resulted in the process being paper free and also

removed filing time.


Knowledge Transfer

• 7 staff trained in lean methodology

• 1 facilitator provided with change management coaching support

• 7 staff trained in Lead Daily Management System to ensure sustained improvements.


The Benefits

Continuous Improvement

The team committed to developing a Lean Daily Management System within their area to sustain

the changes they had made and to drive further improvements. A 10 minute meeting was held at

the board each day to discuss performance measures and issues.

During the event a number of follow on projects were identified by the team and the facilitator

put together a plan to tackle them. These included:-

• 5S in the warehouse to improve layout. Currently a significant amount of time is spent

• Poor order entry by Sales team causing problems through the whole supply chain.


Value Delivered

Typical process efficiency savings included:

• 15 hours per month removed through electronic storage

• 30% improvement in process lead time by removal of waiting times

• Removal of paper from process, removing searching for paperwork, duplication

• All staff skilled in the end to end process – this became business critical due to the loss

searching for items.

waiting times and cost of paper and ink cartridges

of some team members