ManagementWorks Lean Business Programme and Dates

The ManagementWorks Lean Business Programme is already helping dozens of businesses in Ireland to reap the benefits of Lean business tools and Lean thinking. We use a proven combination of training and on-site mentoring to help you and your team members to understand Lean, build Lean skill sets within your business, and deliver one or more lean improvement projects from start to finish.

Who should participate?

Any manufacturing or service company where operational efficiency is a critical factor in success. Participants can be the business managers or front-line staff. You can select a team of up to four participants from your company. Each participant will deliver a process improvement project in their area of the business.

What does the programme consist of?

  • A twelve-week focused business impact programme
  • Eight half-day in-company mentored sessions working on the specifics of your business
  • Five practical one-day group workshops – all participating companies attend together
  • Learning is practical and dynamic
  • Participants will be encouraged to share and pool experiences so that delegates will benefit from ‘real life’ experiences

How will your business benefit?

Adopting Lean tools and techniques is a proven approach to business that is being embraced by an increasing number of organisations. Why? Because it is delivering serious competitive advantage to companies who engage in the process. Previous participants on our programmes are using Lean to deliver measureable improvements across a wide range of business outcomes, such as

  • Improved cash flow
  • Productivity
  • Waste reduction
  • Lead-times reduction
  • Employee engagement
  • Quality
  • Customer Service.

By participating in this programme, you and your team members will:

  • Develop a clear understanding and practical knowledge of the tools and practices underpinning Lean
  • Identify and deliver a project or suite of projects that will provide meaningful and measureable improvements for your business
  • Gain the knowledge, skills and confidence to be able to apply Lean principles, tools and techniques to other projects within your business

What is the cost of the programme?

The subsidised cost of the programme is €3,500 per company for up to four participants. This includes all training, mentoring, course materials, lunches and refreshments.
Where is this programme available?
This programme is available in locations throughout Ireland. See ManagementWorks programmes on the ETAC website for upcoming programmes and workshops.

New format FETAC / QQI courses from ETAC.

The level 5 “Lean Manufacturing Tools” programme will be run in a new format in 2015.

FETAC LogoIn the early 90’s the concept of Lean Manufacturing was introduced by Womack & Jones. The team studied the automotive industry at the time and found dramatic differences in performance and bottom-line profitability particularly between US and Japanese companies. They found best practice results at Toyota in japan.

The Toyota Production System is concerned with maximising value in any process and eliminating waste whilst transforming the value chain, the sequence of events that deliver the client requirements. The tools target improvement in quality, reliability, workplace organisation, and streamlining material and information flows.
This Level 5 programme is designed to give the delegates an overall knowledge of how to use these key tools. As part of the programme, the learner will apply the tools to an improvement project within their operation. The attendants will be presented with the concepts and techniques allowing to practically apply the tools by using simple exercises and modules.

This is a 5-day programme run over 12 weeks. All participants are required to deliver a Lean improvement project within their business. On successful completion of the course, candidates are awarded a Level 5 credit on the National Framework of Qualifications.


Course outline:
Task 1: Lean Thinking

Task 2: Project Charter

Task 3: Kaizen

Task 4: 8-step process improvement

Task 5: Value Stream Mapping

Task 6: Workplace Organisation (5s)

Task 7: Kanban

Task 8: Quick Changeover (SMED)

Task 9: Standard Work

Task 10: Asset Care (TPM)

Times: 9am till 5pm

For more information
please contact: ETAC Limited
PDC Centre,
Docklands Innovation Park,
128-130 East Wall Road,
Dublin 3
01 6856535

Enterprise Ireland Lean Business Offer 2015

Over 800 Lean projects have been supported to date by Enterprise Ireland.

484    LeanStart projects yielding an average savings of €55k

229   LeanPlus Plus programmes yielding an average savings of €145k

95       LeanTransform programmes delivering significant savings

Successful businesses have applied Lean strategies for many years to grow revenues, increase cash flow and reduce costs.

ETAC are on the Enterprise Ireland directory of service providers. Our team have developed LeanStart (up to €5000 grant of €6300 cost), LeanPlus (up to 50% of costs up to €75,000) and LeanTransform (up to 50% of costs of over €100,000) programmes from our years of experience implementing Lean with Irish and international clients.

ETAC have been providing Lean consultancy and training over the past 8 years to Irish businesses including Abtran, Accenture, Aer Lingus, Alps Ireland, Bank Of Ireland, Cargotec,Coca Cola, DAA Diageo, Digicom, Élan, Electro Automation, Element Six, Espion, Forest Tosara, GN Resound, Irish Distillers, Irish Examiner, JTI, Lexmark, MicroBio, Nightline, Pepsi, Rottapharm, Specsavers, Topaz, the Tech Group, United Drug, Wellman International,.
Cost  cash flow Revenue

Lean is a business philosophy that aims to continuously optimise the time between a client’s order and service delivery through the elimination of cost, complexity and time.
The approach is customer-focussed, process-focussed and time-focussed.

Enterprise Ireland Lean Business Offer

The Enterprise Ireland Lean Business Offer aims to encourage clients to adopt and imbed lean business principles in their organisation, thereby, leading to increased business performance, productivity and competitiveness.

There are three programmes on offer:

LeanStart LeanPlus LeanTransform

Why Choose ETAC?
Delivery Record Coaching Engineers Clients
ETAC have been helping clients to introduce lean techniques through training and consultancy since 2006. Our team are highly qualified and bring a wealth of practical business experience to each programme.
Phone Email


Phone: 01 6856535


PDC Centre,

Docklands Innovation Park,

128-130 East Wall Road,

Dublin 3

Top 10 lean tips for business transformation

1         Focus

Ensure that your lean program

a)      Delivers Customer Value

b)      Is aligned to your business strategy

c)       Delivers bottom line results – verified by your Financial expert!

2         Leadership

Your lean programme should be sponsored by senior leaders

They should be actively involved in the programme.

The programme should be reinforced through regular communications

3         Process Oriented

The lean approach is to systematically optimise your processes.

Begin by understanding your key processes and where value is being added.

The aim is to minimise or eliminate non-value adding process steps

4         Data Driven

Without data, you are left with opinions.

Make sure that all decisions taken to optimise processes are based on sound data.

This assists in taking the emotion out of key decisions and promotes acceptance

5         Performance Tracking and Accountability

Track performance and make results visible.

Real time data tracking is best.

Ensure all processes have key measures and review them regularly

Lean Business Transformation Team

6         Team Based Implementation

Ensure that effective teams are created to optimise processes.

Involve process owners.

Track team performance and reward success

7         Human resources

Ensure that your program is adequately resourced.

Bring in expertise if required.

Establish a proven training program for staff

8         Change Management

Lean programs question the ‘norm’

This can be difficult and involve changing established practices.

In this case, ensure that the team gives adequate attention to HR / Change Management.

9         Benchmarking

Visit other successful lean implementations.

Companies are often delighted to present their lean implementation.

Network with other companies implementing lean.

10     Don’t celebrate too early or give up too soon

Lean is a journey.

When you’ve optimised your process – start again!

The aim is to build a culture of continuous improvement

Start your Lean journey NOW

Not having a system could be eating your cash

We were working with our call centre client and looking at the task of processing claims. Unfortunately, in Ireland, many claims in this particular sector are submitted on paper forms. Our task was to map the process of approving these claims. We broke the process into small element steps and were in the process of timing a number of claims with the claim approver, Jenny. As is the norm with paperwork applications, we encountered a number of errors and missing information. This required Jenny to either make a phonecall, write an email or send a letter by post.

It was while Jenny was sending a letter that the absence of a reliable supply system came to light. Jenny was out of A4 envelopes and apologised as she now had to walk about 100 metres to the stationary store to get some more envelopes. Amazingly, in an office of over 200 staff, she came back empty handed and red-faced. “There are no A4 envelopes in the store – they’re due in tomorrow!”.

Luckily, Clare overheard the conversation and came to Jenny’s rescue. “You should have asked me. I’ve plenty under my desk” and she produced a pile of A4 envelopes. Later on, Paul, who sat beside Jenny, returned from a break. Jenny told Paul about the embarrassing episode with the envelopes (which increased the process step timing). “That wouldn’t have happened if I had been here” said Paul. “That has happened to me before – I always keep a store of envelopes under my desk”.

The thought occurred that there were probably more envelopes in that office than would be consumed in months. Anyone who had lost time in the past had now created their own ‘store’ in the absence of a reliable system. As soon as those envelopes come in tomorrow, Jenny was going to create her own store.

The solution was to implement a 2-bin kanban system. As most of the staff needed to print letters before using the envelopes, the 2-bin kanban ‘stores’ were located at each printer and serviced twice a day by the stationary suppliers.

Building a lean culture

Very often, identifying waste and improvement opportunities is the easy part of a lean programme. Sustaining the effort and winning the hearts and minds of people is often a much bigger challenge. This is particularly true for well established companies and public services.

The lean culture change is usually driven from the top. So what is the role of the business leader and management team in shaping the lean future of the company?

Gemba – Management walking the business process and listening

To keep this simple, the lean leaders must have

  1. A vision for the company – “It is better to grow into profitability rather than to shrink into profitability”(ref: The Lean Toolbox – Bicheno/Holweg). Employees are unlikely to support a cost cutting programme and must see a vision of growth and opportunity for their company.
  2. Strong communication channels. The company may have fine ideas and strategies but fail to communicate them to all of their workers. Structured management forums and regular workforce briefing should be supplemented by a presence in the processes. Management teams need to get out among their workforce and actively listen to feedback to keep in touch with the real operational issues in the business.
  3. Key measures. A real-time and well communicated measurement system is vital to ensuring that the business stays on track. If the employees don’t get this information, it is the equivalent to a team competing in a game without knowing the score.
  4. Systems for resource allocation. Allocation of resources must be based on real-time customer demand and systems must respond quickly to the signals generated by the lean business processes.
  5. Good processes to monitor performance and assist in removing roadblocks as required. There should be a sense of urgency to tackle problems straight away and to escalate unresolved issues quickly.
  6. Methods to “Catch” people doing the right things and recognise them for the good work that they do reinforcing the lean thinking within the company.

These issues often take far longer to get right than implementing lean tools. I’d be interested in feedback from lean leaders and a discussion on the key priorities for business leaders in a lean transformation.

Kanban – an example from your home

Think of something you use at home that you never want to be without.

On a recent training course this question was posed and Paul volunteered that his family never run out of milk.

How do they ensure that that happens? paul explained that they keep two 2 litre containers of milk in the fridge. As soon as one is empty, it is left out and prompts the next person going to the shop to collect a 2-litre container of milk. Simple? They are never without milk.

Oh, by the way, Paul’s family have never heard of kanban..

As with many lean principles, they are derived from simple common sense.

A good kanban system ensures continuous supply of material.

The word ‘kanban’ means ‘signal’. A kanban signal is a trigger to replenish material.

The most common type of kanban is a 2-bin kanban. 2 bins are used for each item in a storage location. Each container is filled with a quantity to cover usage over a set period of time. One ‘bin’ must be emptied before using the second. The empty bin triggers a signal.

The signal can be the bin itself, a card, a fax etc and should follow a standard process.

Bin sizes are calculated using a combination of the usage, delivery/collection frequency, supply lead time and batch size.

The target in many lean companies is to minimise bin sizes by increasing collection/delivery frequency and reducing batch sizes.

Through the application of kanban, companies can expect to reduce inventories and eliminate downtime due to material shortages.

This is one of the many tools delivered in the Lean Business programme helping to minimise waste in participating companies.

Should I begin my lean programme with 5s?

We are asked this type of question by many companies.

The idea of a clean and tidy workplace is very appealing and seems an ideal way to begin the lean programme.

Done poorly, and there is little distinction between the 5s initiative and a good spring clean.

Done well, this can involve many people and make an instant impact.

The essence of 5s is to:

Sort – decide what is required and remove everything else. This can be an enjoyable and empowering experience for the team.

Set in order – ensure that what is required has a designated and suitable storage area. Again, this can give the team a tremendous feeling of taking control of their area.

Shine – regular schedules are defined to clean and maintain all that is required – machinery, tools, work areas & materials. Good schedules assist a TPM (Total Preventative Maintenance) programme and SMED (Single Minute Exchange of Die or Quick Changeover).

Standardise – Habits are not formed until a process has been performed many times. Standardising and optimising the new processes takes time. There can be reluctance to move away from old ways which have ‘worked’ for years. Documenting and scheduling the new ways takes time. Setting visual controls takes time and will not be done in one event.

Sustain  – Sustaining 5s in a process requires regular review. How often are schedules checked?. How often are frequencies, limits and quantities re-calculated? How often are visual controls updated?  How often is the system audited and how are results measured and communicated?

Our view is that like any of the lean initiatives, 5s is one of many tools. The lean programme needs to start with clear objectives, a clear definition of value and good understanding of the business processes. In any improvement initiative, we are looking for some measure of success. If 5s clearly impacts our measure of success, then it may be an exercise worth doing early on.

However, if in defining our value stream we realise that our process is unbalanced, carries too much inventory or has poor flow, we may wish to focus on the process first and then apply 5s to the re-designed process.

Some teams decide on 5s as an improvement project. However, the business case and project goals can be very subjective. Ultimately, after the initial enthusiasm, the team can lose motivation as there is no clear measure of where they are going.

What is your experience with 5s? Would you recommend starting a lean programme with 5s? What has and hasn’t worked in your organisation? What are the key challenges and issues?