Team based games are the most effective way to enable organisations to experience the power of Lean. These learning experiences teach the concepts of Lean. But, they also enable team members to experience the human aspects of making work processes more effective. As Lean Experts and Practitioners we have traditionally relied on paper and card-based simulations. Indeed, we have delivered our training in classroom situations. However, our LeanTeams online programme has changed our approach to training and mentoring.
Certainly, at ETAC our philosophy is to enable the client’s own teams to identify and make the changes to their processes. Similarly, this makes them more responsive to customer demand. Team-based games are an important part of creating the working culture.
During 2020, the impacts of social distancing and travel restrictions meant it became impossible to organise classroom training as a means of building a “Lean” culture. As a result, organisations faced the twin challenges of enabling remote team working and the resulting changes to work process and impacts on efficiency and customer service.
Recognising this, ETAC searched for a “ready-made” online team training solution. This would enable us to continue the delivery of performance transformations for our customers. However, we found that no such solution existed in a form that was suitable for immediate use for our clients. We therefore set about designing and building our own platform to deliver a team based online training learning solution.
Our LeanTeams Solution
Our solution has five key elements:
- Using proprietary communication tools such as MS-Teams, Skype or Zoom to enable a virtual classroom and break-out sessions.
- An adaptable workflow simulation system. This can accommodate a wide variety of workflow designs and changes.
- Collaboration software to enable nominal group process and visualisation of process flows.
- Real-time monitoring and visual reporting of the workflow performance. This enables teams to quickly see the effects of changes to their workflow.
- Effective monitoring, moderation, and facilitation of the learning with ETAC associates. Finally, this makes the learning event successful. Above all, our aim is to transfer these skills to team members working in value streams and Lean practitioners within our client’s organisation.
Our view is that 2020 saw the changes that were already happening in office-based work processes. It is now unlikely that things will go back exactly to the way they used to be. Consequently, higher levels of travel restrictions, remote working, automation, the use of artificial intelligence, and online socially distant ways of organising value streams are here to stay.
In short, the power of Lean and learning to work effectively with the tools that enable the new normal remain as relevant as ever to achieving an excellent customer experience.
What is the LeanTeams Game?
First of all, the training game is an on-line experiential learning simulation. It is based around processing customer orders from several customers using online workflows. In our generic version of the game, we use a Pharma supply chain. Although, this can be adapted to specific industries.
Secondly, we ask participants to take on various roles. For example, the game includes sales, customer service, finance, operations, and supervision.
The objective of the game is to highlight the typical inefficiencies found in offices and workflow process environments. Certainly, these demonstrate how simple changes can be implemented to improve value to the customer.
After that, we challenge the participants to correctly complete data on order review and order acknowledgement forms. The game enables participants to understand, and experience Lean in action in a Value Steam:
- Understand what value is for the customer.
- Identify a value stream and remove all associated waste.
- Enable products and information to flow at the rate of customer demand.
- Strive for perfection through continuous improvement.
The game allows team members to see the most prevalent wastes in office and workflow processes.
- Unnecessary movements of tasks between individuals.
- Hidden Inventories.
- Lost waiting time.
- Impact of passing defective information.
Finally, each round of the LeanTeams simulation takes up to 15 minutes to run. The full simulation and training takes place over 2 or 3 sessions, each with a duration of about 4 hours.
Following the first round, we map the existing process using proprietary online collaboration tools. Then, the participants develop the improvements. These are then agreed by the team before re-running the game with the new improved processes over a few rounds. The game can be run in “classrooms” or with virtual teams.
What are the Benefits for Participants?
- A more realistic situation in which you can practice and learn.
- Using electronic based communication and workflow means the game environment is more representative of the tools people use in practice compared with paper and card.
- Setting the learning in remote collaborative work environment replicates the tools that people use daily, but perhaps not to their full potential.
What are the Benefits for the Organisation?
- An effective training delivery method.
- Training can be delivered to socially-distanced remote work team or to existing virtual teams.
- Delivering to existing work teams enables team building through continuous improvements and collaboration.
- Remote learning is more effective and less expensive.
What are the benefits for Lean Trainers and Practitioners?
- An effective training delivery method.
- The training rooms and game runs can be configured electronically. Companies use less time for those necessary but non-value adding tasks of organising training logistics and resources.
- The skills needed to give the training and run the game are just as relevant to leading process improvement in a “live” value stream. For this reason, we believe the training should be delivered by trained trainers from within the client’s organisation. ETAC Consultants will ensure you have the skills and capabilities needed to deliver an effective training.
- A simple pricing structure.
Click here to contact the team at ETAC for an online consultation about LeanTeams or enquire about our next Lean Business programme.
You may also be interested in reading about our insights on our Lean Approach to Business Improvement and How Can I Sustain my Lean Programme? All our blogs are available to read here. Please connect with us on Linkedin and Twitter.