Category Archives: Lean Manufacturing

Top 10 Characteristics To Look For While Staffing A Lean Organization

Does your organization the term “lean” as a belief of managing people, process or P&L’s, or as slang for having the appearance of managing by rigorous principals?

At its core, “lean” is a production philosophy that considers any resources, other than the direct value for the end customer, to be wasteful. “Lean” was introduced to the business world in the 1990’s and organizations have been adopting this ideal of utilizing KPI, Five S, Value Stream Mapping and Kaizen to drive their organization since.

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Lean workforce management practices will prove your organization’s effectiveness in utilizing technology, resource management, accountability and reporting practices, while trimming waste and promoting positive behaviors. It also demands a great deal from employees.  In order to be successful, you need to develop people who are willing and able to proactively help manage the Lean process. Employees who are customer focused, good problem solvers, and interested in helping to continually improve the processes around them is essential.

Your organization will need a robust Lean competency management process to help you to easily evaluate your employees and put development plans in place to address identified skill gaps, such as a Skill Flex Program.

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Making Lean work in any organization requires critical competencies for the whole team, from management to employees. It keeps everyone focused on adding value, without producing waste.  So, what kind of Lean-oriented skills and behaviors should you look for in your employees? Here are the top 10:

1. Ability to work in a team environment
2. Ability to make decisions and solve problems
3. Ability to plan, organize and prioritize work
4. Ability to communicate verbally with people inside and outside an organization
5. Ability to obtain and process information
6. Ability to analyze quantitative data
7. Technical knowledge related to the job
8. Proficiency with computer software programs
9. Ability to create and/or edit written reports
10. Ability to sell and influence others

Once you have identified, hired, trained and empowered your team members effectively, the results of investing in a Lean workforce management philosophy will become evident. If you will realize that your workforce is the single most important thing in developing a sustainable Lean workforce, your organization will realize unfounded results for years to come.

Final nGroup Q & A: Break Out 5

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This is the last nGroup break out! We hope you’ve enjoyed reading the answers to questions we have commonly been asked.  If you have any others, please ask by contacting or tweeting at us @ngrouppartners.  Hope to hear your feedback soon!

How do you incent productivity without harming quality?
We put incentives in place and include disincentives for poor quality. Employees are only paid on first quality throughput and they lose incentive for passing on a product that is not up to standard.  Quality checks are also designed into the process. nGROUP understands the cost to quality, we can implement a program that reduces billing for sub-par quality and increases billing for exceptional quality. All product quantities and quality are confirmed by you as work is completed. This assures that quality processes have independent inspections.

How do I recover cost while investing?
nGROUP works with our partners to develop pricing structures that encourage investment and improvement.  The pricing structure results in the ability to easily cost justify improvements by evaluating investment vs. expected savings.

How do I capture year over year cost savings?
The savings are different in each location.  Operational improvements and savings are contingent on factors such as flexibility within the operation, extent of nGROUP’s services, work content changes from year to year, and the ever changing costs associated with labor.  It is typical to see savings of 3-5% from year to year.

What is the cost to use the nGROUP solution?
The only loser in the program is the inefficiency in the process.  If we cannot remove these inefficiencies and find a way to save you money, we will tell you that your operation is not an application. We do require a $10,000 upfront assessment fee but if we find that our program cannot help save you at least 10% we’ll fully refund the assessment fee.

How are new employees screened?
All employees are screened according to our client’s requirements.  This always include I-9 verification for appropriate work status and can incorporate full drug testing, background checks, and credit checks when required.

How does nGROUP train employees?
Training employees is a cornerstone of our program.  Each employee receives a location and client specific orientation package that includes a written training curriculum as well as hands on training on site.  nGROUP’s orientation program has proven to improve both productivity and quality for new employees.

How will nGROUP comply with all safety requirements?
nGROUP starts by mimicking our client’s safety programs.  We then utilize regional safety coordinators to assess risks and evaluate the program.  Specific risks are identified and improved so that we can maintain a safe working environment.  We also apply incentives for safety and ongoing safety results.

What happens if an nGROUP employee is injured?
nGROUP has a standardized process to ensure employees are treated at local medical facilities in a fast, responsible manner.  The onsite representative will work with the employee to certify the process is followed.

nGroup Q & A: Break Out 3

Can nGROUP help increase sales and be more competitive?
nGROUP’s program minimizes labor cost and improves key operational metrics such as turnaround time and quality.  This allows our partners to be extremely competitive versus the market.  In addition, outsourcing the operational components provides your team with the ability to focus on more strategic areas of your business.  nGROUP is also committed to continuous improvement  so you will continue to outperform your competitors.

How does nGROUP’s program affect our employees?
We focus on individual productivity within our program.  We only accomplish our goals with successful employees.  When appropriate, we are glad to discuss opportunities to join the nGROUP team in order to maintain the tribal knowledge of our client’s operation.

How do I maintain control of the operation?
During our assessment and implementation, the nGROUP team will interview important shareholders to ensure our partners are comfortable with the reporting structure, inventory handling, production tracking, or whatever information is important.  We also develop processes that confirm quality, production, and billing data with our partner.  Our quarterly business reviews (QBR) are always an opportunity to review and adjust what we all find important.  In the end, inventory, process, and product never leave your facility.

nGroup Q & A: Break Out 2

Why do you think you can do it better than we can do it?
Outsourcing is not a zero sum game.  Many organizations fail to understand that the sum of the parts actually exceed the whole. 

By adding nGROUP, you are bringing additional resources to your operation to enhance your overall performance.  nGROUP has experience working with market leaders across the nation where we have had the privilege to develop, learn, and utilize world class best practices.  In addition nGROUP is dedicated to the improvement of our client’s operations.  All of our resources are utilized and trained to optimize our clients operation.  The nGROUP team is continually updated on the latest improvements from across our partner base.  We also invest in continued education for our team, develop and continue to invest in technology, tools, and solutions to improve our service offering.  By working together, we create synergies and benefits that were not possible previously.

Why outsource your operation?
nGROUP focuses on operational processes within your facilities to reduce cost, while improving productivity, quality, service levels, and reducing liabilities.  We allow your current management team to focus on strategic issues rather than the day to day burden of production and labor challenges.  Our world class team and processes along with our partners ultimate insight ensures you maintain control and receive the service and results you desire.

nGroup Q & A: Break Out 1

How can I be sure we will receive savings with nGROUP and the pricing is firm?
Our approach allows us to be aggressive with our pricing structure and helps build our partnership on a strong foundation.  To start, during our assessment process, the nGROUP team will work directly with the major shareholders within the facility to understand the cost structures within the operation and ensure we understand the process flow.  We also complete engineering analysis through time studies, work observation and historical data collection.  Our engineers and analysts compare our findings and confirm our conclusions with you.    Our benefits case will be developed using the verified results.  

How does nGROUP help in the areas of compliance, regulations, and legal?
nGROUP’s program mitigates co-employment issues for our partners.  Because we hire, manage, and discipline our employees, we keep you protected.  By maintaining the operation on your premises, you do not lose control of your data and information.  Your IT infrastructure is utilized and you can make certain data is always secure.  nGROUP maintains strict documentation and confidentiality policy as an addition safeguard.  In addition to these compliance items, our safety coordinators work with your team to enhance OSHA compliance and develop comprehensive safety programs.  The largest impact is the control over co-employment issues.  Because nGROUP hires, manages, disciplines, determine work tasks and hours, we are the legal employer, removing our clients from the ever rising tide of employee litigation.

Before & After : 3.5 Million Dollars

Provided By Diron Raines, nGroup Executive Vice President

The chart below indicates the actual results that nGROUP produced for a leading electronics manufacturer.  To read the details of these breakthrough results, click here.

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Diron Raines is an Executive Vice President with nGROUP perfromance partners.  Diron’s focused is implementing, maintaining, and growing nGROUP operational installations on the West coast and outlying markets.