How To Be Lean – Lean Management Part 1

How To Be Lean – Lean Management Part 1

Hear From Our Imprint Plus Expert Bonnie Wall

Organizing Processes by Value Stream and Towards High Productivity

Businesses are always on the lookout for ways to improve operations and management, whether in manufacturing or non-manufacturing environments. Welcome to LEAN strategies, a systematic way of examining any process to streamline and eliminate excess work and ensure best practices are being used whenever possible, both at work and in the home.

A graduate from the BCIT’s Operations Management program and well versed in Six Sigma methodologies, Bonnie Wall has been an integral part of the LEAN management implementation at Imprint Plus™. As the Operations Manager, she’s leveraged LEAN thinking and enacted LEAN processes to oversee the manufacturing and distribution of all the company’s products. Imprint Plus™ is the leading supplier of reusable name badges and food service signage systems to over 35,000 customers in 74 countries around the world.

Hello Bonnie, thank you for offering your time to allow me to interview you. Could you tell us how LEAN thinking matches your expectation in terms of management methods?

Lean management is about focusing on what the customer values and continually improving to reduce waste and interruptions. This matches my expectation in terms of management methods because interruptions, and unclear instructions or standards can lead to employee frustration and errors in output and quality.  Empowering employees to find waste and eliminate it will streamline their work to increase employee and customer satisfaction.  This in turn allows our name badge company to be able to respond quickly to changing customer demand, as well as reducing costs to keep product pricing competitive.

Describe your experience relating to LEAN training.

Lean training has changed the way I conduct my regular life outside work.  It helps you to save time at home on day-to-day activities. For example, mowing the lawn – If you sit down and think about the activity and the steps involved in completing that activity, you are sure to find waste.  You may be able to cut down 15 minutes by gathering all your tools at once or moving the grass trimming bins closer to the point of use.  Even looking at what area of the lawn you start and finish at.  Plus, by removing things like excess movement (walking), not only will make the task easier for you, but it will shorten it.  The 15 minutes saved can turn into an additional 15 minutes on an activity you enjoy.

Why is LEAN a valuable business tool?

Having a lean company is about continually improving the company to allow for growth, employee satisfaction and reducing process costs to ensure the customer is only paying for what they value.  There is a misconception that Lean management is about laying employees off to reduce costs.

Lean Is A Way Of Thinking

What do you think LEAN thinking can bring to organizations? Can it work with all departments?

Lean management is not just for manufacturing.  Many offices adopt a lean culture as well, and find many different ways to save time navigating through the computer or even improving filing systems.

Your position as an Operations Manager is very challenging. What is your main strategy to achieve efficiency and high productivity?

The key to achieving efficiency and high productivity is to create standards.  If standards are defined and written, this reduces confusion and the amount of errors an employee can make. Unclear standards are one of the main root causes for rework and employee frustration.  Poorly defined goals and objectives also lead to overproduction. Overproduction is a waste of company resources and materials.


Click here to read “How to Be Lean – Part 2” by Bonnie Wall.
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Bonnie Wall is the Operations Manager at Imprint Plus





If you’re interested in reading more on LEAN, check out our other posts:

Lean Name Badge Manufacturing
2 Great Books to Get You Started With Lean Manufacturing
I Can See Clearly Now, The Rain Is Gone
Lean 8-Step Model for Problem Solving
The Benefits of The “Daily-Huddle”
Lean in the Office