post archives

June 12, 2012

For most executives, the decision to embrace Lean and advance it across their enterprise is a deliberate one. Whether Lean is brought in to relieve cost pressure, improve quality or help scale processes to deal with rapid growth, reasons for going Lean are compelling. Optimism, comfortable training budgets, ambitious improvement goals, and visible executive support define these early days.

Fast forward a year or two, and the patina may be showing signs of fading. Although having...

May 14, 2012

We’re now just past the one-year milestone in our Lean journey. It’s been an exciting year—we’ve had some great results, trimming waste from processes, creating efficiencies in our back office and streamlining service to members. Our employees are embracing the Lean mindset across the organization.

But as we often say at First...

May 4, 2012

“Sounds great in theory—but will it work in practice?”

You’ve probably heard something like that a few times before. That statement reflects the fact that past experience teaches us that sometimes, attempts to address a need falls short. Things don't work quite as they were conceived.

Now, there are a whole host of possible reasons why a solution may fail in the execution stage. The great thing about Lean is that it addresses one of...

April 13, 2012

The late Steve Jobs was notorious for his unwillingness to use market research to find out what customers wanted. His stance was that customers couldn’t really tell you exactly what they wanted—at least without reference to some existing product. Jobs felt intuition as a guiding force was superior to intellect.

It’s hard to argue Jobs’ belief in the face of Apple’s meteoric resurgence. But what do you do when you don’t have that extraordinary gut...

April 9, 2012

So why Lean? There are many reasons, but let us give you just a few really good ones. The first comes from experience—we found the traditional, top-down approach to process improvement—where a small, centralized team of process experts looks for and implements efficiencies—wasn’t right for us. We needed the engagement and expertise of more people, from the front lines to the back office.

That leads into the second point: Lean aligns with ...

April 2, 2012

People often ask us “what made you start looking at Lean? What end-result are you looking for?”

In a word, value. It’s really all about creating value for our members through the elimination of waste. But going Lean isn’t a flip-the-switch deal—it’s a journey. Our Lean for Service trailer highlights the other benefits of a Lean journey.

See our more in-depth...