Category Archives: Enterprise Ireland


The rush to solution

The first step in any process improvement initiative is to define the problem or business opportunity. This step is often completed far too quickly and in some cases defines a solution without really addressing the real issue.

Paul was a recent case in point. Paul has just commenced a project-based process improvement programme. He works in an assembly area on a mezzanine floor in a manufacturing company.

Products for assembly are brought to Paul and his team by forklift from the ground floor.

Paul’s project was to install a lift in the area as the team were often waiting on the forklift driver. He was quite frustrated that management couldn’t see this and wouldn’t justify the expenditure.


In fact, Paul had presented a solution without actually defining the problem and the impact on the team. We needed to take some steps back and understand what is actually happening.

The team had recently had to wait for an hour on work from the ground floor.

  • How often did this happen?
  • What was the process for ordering material?
  • How was this communicated?
  • How often did work need to be moved?

There was no data on any of these questions and no real process in place for delivering product.

The forklift was also used to receive purchased items, to load deliveries and to manage stock on the ground floor. Any of these activities could delay transfer of work to the mezzanine unless some notice was given or some plan was put in place.

It also became apparent that there was limited product in the process staged for assembly.

There was a need to map the entire process and understand how the work flowed within the business. Mapping forced the team to think about their process and their commitment to their customers. The links between each stage of the process needed to be understood and the team needed to agree ways of working. This is the 2nd stage of process improvement.

The ‘solution’ of installing a lift is now likely to be superseded by a pull system in the short term giving a clear signal to the forklift operator when product needs to move. In the longer term, the team are now considering a cell-based layout on the ground floor.

Like all good Lean systems, there is no mystery, just simple ways to engage the knowledge and experience of the staff already present in every business.

We are very proud of the improvements that all of our participants achieve in 3 months.

You may be interested in applying Lean thinking to your business and putting these ideas into place?

Enterprise Ireland offer support to clients through their Lean Business programmes. Click here for details.

The ManagementWorks project-based Lean Business programme will run in Dublin in December. Click here for details.



Who is responsible?

Imagine arriving at these 2 hotels?

How is your initial impression? How would you describe the experience?


If it was your business – how would you like it to be represented? Who is responsible for this representation – the individual or the business?

We can continue to assign our problems to individual error or we can delve deeper and explore the systems and processes that we have put into place.

“Management is responsible for 94% of the problems” – W. Edwards Deming – Out of the Crisis

It all starts from day 1.

Does each person hired understand why we are in business and what we are trying to achieve for our customers?

Do we share our processes? – the best ways that we have found so far to deliver our value to the customers.

Do we train our staff so that they fully understand these processes?

Do we support and encourage our staff to propose even better ways that we can improve on these processes?

The result in doing these things may be represented in the hotel on the right. The result in not doing these things could be represented on the left.

Or you may choose to assign responsibility to the individual in the situation.


Lean thinking is concerned with creating the right environment for our business, our employees and our customers.

You may be interested in applying Lean thinking to your business and putting these ideas into place?

ETAC run Lean programmes for businesses and through Enterprise Ireland, IDA and Skillnets.

Programmes will run this Autumn at various locations in Ireland, leading to QQI awards.

Click here for details on the range of programmes available.


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.
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Phone: 01 6856535


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Docklands Innovation Park,

128-130 East Wall Road,

Dublin 3