This is the beginning of our blog series on lean supply chain operations explained in five steps. In our series of understanding and implementing Lean/Six Sigma initiatives, we would like to provide a roadmap guide for execution. Aragon & Co knows how to lead companies through supply chain consulting from start to end.

More than half of Lean/Six Sigma initiatives fail within the first two years of implementation. A cultural shift and adoption is needed for success and the steps outlined will provide a methodical approach to sustainability.

Our normal process is based on these five steps for full implementation and sustainability, with a goal to produce early progress and wins:

Get Started

  • Involve, educate and gain commitment from Senior Leadership & Employees
  • Focus on setting up your business up for success


  • Define baseline and establish overall goals
  • Choose 2-3 appropriate sites/locations to train and implement Kaizen projects

Coaching & Handoff

  • Train the trainer to develop a sustainable culture with a consistent approach
  • Emphasize management process and role of the trainer


  • Implement and execute to several sites using handoff process
  • Monitor and share results


  • Define Metrics and Dashboards which are dynamic and actionable
  • Implementation of employee motivation and incentives

Ready to Get Lean? Let’s get started.

Lean is essentially about understanding value and non-value. To achieve this, key components are needed in developing a roadmap to change the thinking and culture of your business in how we train and implement Kaizen projects.

Any business implementing Lean must begin with the senior leadership of the business. This is best achieved in a hands-on, interactive session with the appropriate leadership group. The session may want to include a discussion of how productivity improvements will be handled – will the improvements be a threat for the team?

Buy-in and support of senior leadership is critical for the implementation and success of Lean strategies with the employees performing the work. Part of this buy-in is also for the leadership to adopt Lean within their own daily work and life. You cannot start a training process or a cultural shift without this first step.

Each client we have delivered successful lean/six sigma implementations began with this process and the typical results 15-30 percent operations improvement. We will provide more detail on the improvements as we progress through the five steps.

Part of this “Get Started” step is to do 360 reviews with the senior leadership and selected operations employees. This will help provide feedback and the gaps within the senior leadership and operational employee thinking.

In addition, an interactive group SWOT exercise session will provide the thought leadership for the roadmap with a better understanding of the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities as perceived by the leadership team.

This initial step of getting started will also identify how Lean Supply Chain plays a role in metrics and actionable dashboards. How do you measure employee engagement and performance? How do you recognize employees who adopt Lean initiatives?

High level process mapping will help develop opportunities the senior leadership is willing to support.

Continuous leadership training with tools such as lean lego simulation, and crowd engineering methodologies will help embed the lean culture along with providing additional tool to improve capability.

This first step in any process including the “Get Started” phase with the senior leadership is the foundation for successful implementation of lean/six sigma initiatives within the organization for all employee channels.

It is the beginning of a culture shift necessary to implement and sustain lean thinking in your supply chain operations.

As of September 8, 2020, Crimson & Co (formerly The Progress Group/TPG) has rebranded as Argon & Co following the successful merger with Argon Consulting in April 2018. 

Bruce Strahan

[email protected]

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