By Nigel J Smart PhD; Smart Pharmaceutical Consulting.

So you’ve decided to run a Lean Manufacturing Program at your site, and you’re thinking how best to organize and operate the program. One useful option is to enlist the assistance of an experienced Lean Consultant.

Here are a few areas where a consultant can play a useful role in your program:

As a sensei, the consultant can provide an objective overview of the situation and Mentor the Lean team and workforce into why it’s important to do things in a certain way. The whys, the where’s and the how’s of the situation are examples of where a Lean consultant to can play a significant role in your program.

As an experienced extension of your team the consultant can quickly run a diagnostic assessment of key processes, gaps and weaknesses associated with your Current State and can get you tracking quickly. Deciding what tools to use and how to use them and provide the largest bang for your buck is also not always immediately apparent, so to have a Lean consultant that knows the pharmaceutical industry will speed up your process and help to deliver tangible results using the most efficient deployment of your resources.

Relative to this, the consultant will take pressure off the line management during the difficult process of culture change that is often required to produce a successful program. They do this by using their expertise and experience to demonstrate how the new approach and methodology will benefit the company and the workforce equally. This communication role will be vital if the grassroots is to be activated and ideas and practices are to go viral in terms of their acceptance.

Through a structured training program the consultant can educate the senior management, core team and workforce in the philosophy and importance of the key steps that will need to be embraced and lay the necessary groundwork to ensure that the initiative gathers continuous momentum.

When the going gets tough the consultant will act as a rock to provide the backup power and motivation to keep the Lean engine running… All projects have their ups and downs and Lean projects are no different. It is during these times that the consultant can dispel the concerns of the doubters and make the necessary course corrections to maintain the program on the right track and to invigorate the grassroots to establish the program momentum.

Communications and commitment are vital components of any Lean Program. A Lean consultant is well placed to provide objective feedback about the program to senior management and to maintain the commitment from senior management that is required in order to deliver lasting sustainable improvements to the business.

This is by no means the extent of the benefits that can be delivered using a Lean consultant, but it does effectively highlight the diverse number of areas where they can have a meaningful impact.