The recession hit a global building products company hard, confronting it with significant profitability challenges. The company’s leaders knew that to bring performance back on track, the bottom line would have to improve. At the same time, in order to sustain the impact, the leadership wanted to create a learning organization and introduce a new mindset that would be focused on continuous improvement.
BCG partnered with the company to deploy a lean manufacturing program that had a dual focus: delivering quick impact to the bottom line and embedding lean capabilities across the organization.
In the first step of the program, BCG helped create and train a dedicated team of lean champions who would help deploy lean improvement principles across the organization. Using a tailored learning approach and different learning methods—including review of production standards, lectures on the “basics,” simulations, and on-the-job coaching—we built a set of lean skills within this core team.
The program was then rolled out in waves across different facilities. BCG worked with the team of lean champions to train targeted groups of people in each facility, focusing on improving both technical and soft skills. In addition, small “SWAT” teams were created and deployed across regions to identify, evaluate, and address near-term opportunities for improvement.
To sustain the impact, management understood that it was also important to change the working culture and introduce a new mindset across the organization. To achieve this, we customized a client learning and enablement program for the client. By working with the plant managers and key people in the regions, we were able to engage them early in the process and focus on boosting their skills and improving business platforms such as operating standards, processes, and procedures necessary for supporting their daily activities.
The program touched more than 300 people in the organization and resulted in bottom-line impact totaling more than $100 million in the first two years. It helped build the next level of lean capabilities and made learning a part of the new culture. In the end, the company established a lean academy to promote learning over the long term and developed tailored learning programs for individuals at all levels of the organization.