VS helping businesses to get leaner

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SOUTHLAND businesses keen to be leaner have been getting some help from Venture Southland.

Venture Southland lean and business services co-ordinator Rachel Butler said the Lean Business principles workshops had been facilitated by renowned international lean business consultant Clinton Yeats.

Mr Yeats had been helping 17 participants from local businesses, starting with the first of two workshops on July 27.

The first workshop taught the basics of Lean Business principles, Ms Butler said.

Subjects included engaging staff, improving their workday and exceeding customer expectations.

Participants were also given “homework” at the end of it, she said.

The homework was to ask employees what they thought might be “opportunities for improvement”, she said.

Mataura Butcher Shop Ltd manager Chris Duffy, who attended the workshop, said his homework had been to set up an end-to-end process, value stream map, charting how lamb chops were processed.

Points were plotted along the map which began with the chops being ordered from the supplier, progressed through cutting and packaging, and ended with the chops being sold to customers. A note was placed at any point on the map where something was delayed or could go wrong, and the data collected from this exercise would be analysed at the second workshop to see if the process could be improved or streamlined, Mr Duffy said.

In the second workshop, to be held on August 23, participants would return with staff feedback and a more “hands-on workshopping of the business’ processes” would begin, Ms Butler said.

Through this, Mr Yeats would help the businesses form processes which created fewer defects, required less effort, less space and less capital expenditure, plus less time to make products and provide services, she said.

Lean Business workshopping, held at the Venture Southland offices on Spey St in Invercargill, was applicable to all industries including manufacturing, retail and service, Ms Butler said.

The next Lean Business workshop was likely to be a two-day course, currently being planned for October or November, she said.

The two-day course was expected to cost about $700 per person and anyone interested could contact Ms Butler on (03) 211 1421, she said.

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