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mhs homes appoint Lean Champions

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Results & ROI

  • In house Lean capacity and capability developed within mhs homes Service Improvement Team
  • Ability to undertake all internal reviews and support use of Lean tools and techniques

The client

mhs homes are one of the largest housing providers in Kent. Formed in 1990, it now owns and manages more than 8,500 homes in and around Medway. mhs homes has a Service Improvement Team (SIT) with three team members who were to become the organisations Lean Champions. Ad Esse supported the mhs Lean implementation and the transfer of skills to the Lean Champions.

The challenge

As part of an organisation-wide implementation of Lean, mhs identified the need to develop in-house Lean capabilities to ensure the Lean programme was a success and also to continue to improve processes and services after the initial reviews. A Lean Champion is the organisation’s internal Lean subject-matter expert in implementing Lean philosophy and specific tools. However, you cannot become a Lean Champion by simply reading a book, it is a combination of theory and practical application that is essential for the development of well-rounded Lean Champions who will be capable of leading improvement activities or transformation programmes. Lean Champions can come from any part of the organisation and may begin with different skill sets – a previous knowledge of Lean or change management is not essential when recruiting Lean Champions. An ideal Lean Champion is enquiring, self-reflective, and personable with a passion for improvement – these tend to be qualities that cannot be learned.

The approach

There were four main steps:  

Step 1: Develop awareness (7 months)

  • The team had 10 days of classroom training and on-the-job observation of the initial reviews
  • This step gives an introduction to the tools and concepts along with the opportunity to reflect and discuss practical experiences and challenges with each other

Step 2: Apply learning with support (9 months)

  • Second phase reviews were led by the Lean Champions, with light-touch support from Ad Esse
  • Typical involvement from Ad Esse included attending scoping meetings, key workshops and support to capture the benefits of the reviews, providing feedback and coaching

Step 3: Apply learning unsupported (On-going)

  • Third phase of reviews undertaken at mhs homes with very little Ad Esse support
  • The team are now in charge of identifying and completing their own reviews and have worked tirelessly to make the approach their own
  • Comprehensive set of paperwork and supporting standard operating procedures developed so that their approach is consistent

Step 4: Develop others

  • All staff that join mhs homes attend an ‘Induction to Lean working’ session that is led by a SIT Lean Champion
  • All managers attended a ‘Lean for Leaders’ session initially led by Ad Esse and now led by SIT Lean Champions to deliver alongside their manager
  • The roll-out of Information Centres, have enabled staff to address problems and implement solutions or ideas on a daily basis across the organisation

The benefits

  • Staff are reassured by having a face they know and trust in reviews completed with external Consultant support resulting in increased buy-in from staff and managers
  • Lean Champions provide on-going support and once aware of Lean principles can quickly pick up on tell-tale signs where things aren’t progressing as they should, or change is reverting back to how it used to be
  • mhs homes have become self-sufficient in Lean meaning improvement works can continue without the costs of external Consultant input