‘Lean approach’ opens new doors

“My career’s been enhanced hugely,” says Clare, a newly-promoted Stock and Logistics Manager, following her Accelerated Route to Lean Manufacturing (ARTL) course with the Manufacturing Institute in January 2019.

“It 100 percent resulted in my promotion. It was a huge thing for me personally,” she says.

Completing the ARTL has given Clare’s career the firepower it needed to hit the next level. As with all ATRL delegates, though, it was obvious that the necessary talents lay within her already – the ARTL programme simply equipped her with the know-how and confidence to maximise her potential and make the most of new opportunities.

It is a successful outcome that rings true for Warehouse Operations Manager, Darren, too, who completed the programme in March of the same year

“The balance of the ARTL was perfect,” he says.

Darren comes from a retail background but was keen to know more about manufacturing, the industry that provides all the products he sells. “The course leaders were able to demonstrate how I could use the knowledge to develop my skills and take my career forward. The content felt just right, but I’m like a sponge – I love that type of thing!’

The secret to continuous improvement

As Darren realised, content is key. That’s why the ARTL is designed to be a practical toolkit for success. It is a fast-track programme to help people become ‘lean champions’ in their workplaces. The lectures and workshops are delivered by industry experts who know everything there is to know about optimising processes, streamlining systems and increasing competitiveness.

Clare, for instance, used her new-found knowledge of Kaizen principles (a business methodology encouraging continuous improvement via creative thinking and collaborative mindsets) during the interview for her new role.

“It was quite an intense interview,” she remembers. “But being able to talk about Kaizen, its principles and how I envisaged them being applied in the role, and the wider business, hugely aided me in being successful.”

Understandable, when the strategies learned on the course can lead to rapid, tangible results when adopted back in the workplace.

‘Just get out there and do it’

Since returning to the warehouse, inspired by the ‘lean’ focus of the ARTL, Darren has pulled together a team of colleagues to map out all their processes and see where efficiency can be improved and procedures simplified. Together, they’ve drilled down to the minutiae of timing each step, analysing efficiency from a value-added/non-value added perspective.

“We mapped it all out on a wall with post-it notes, which is something we did on the course,” says Darren. “We’ve already implemented some key wins. That was another of the things I got from the course – the confidence to act. If there is something you can do quickly to get tangible results, just get out there and do it.”

“The lean principles are a huge part of being able to enhance your production environment,” agrees Clare. “The Manufacturing Institute has the best people in the business and they’ve been around for a long time, so can advise you in the best way, based on many years’ experience.”

“It’s not just one person taking you for the whole course – it’s different faces all the time. Being around other delegates is a huge advantage too, sharing experiences and ideas from other environments and different industries.”

Seeing results in action

One of the most popular features of the ARTL is the industry visit, where delegates witness first-hand the operations of a major manufacturing business that has benefited from adopting lean principles.

These tours are arranged not only to showcase ‘lean’ in action, but also to demonstrate how a culture can be changed within a business.

“To finish off at Leyland Trucks was just mind-blowing,” says Darren, of his visit to the commercial vehicle manufacturer. “It helped us to make sense of everything we’d learned on the course. The icing on the cake was in understanding the journey they themselves had gone through.”

Likewise, our ARTL students are now embarking on a journey of their own – to become ‘lean’ champions in their own workplaces and launch the next phase of their careers.