Unveiling the Power of ‘Why’ – Insights From a Lean Expert

Nico de Sousa is the Lean/Continuous Improvement content expert at DVIRC. He is responsible for facilitating organizational Continuous Improvement efforts, implementing of Lean methodologies, and creating Lean/CI programs and courses. This involves developing on-site collaborative solutions and training, as well as conducting training and education courses held at DVIRC.

We sat down with Nico to ask him a bit about how he tackles the problems that his clients face.

Can you describe your average workday as a Continuous Improvement (CI) expert? 

My days are a dynamic adventure, giving a refreshing lack of routine. On certain days I might have a comprehensive site visit at a client’s, where I would tour their facilities. This would include face-to-face time with their team and active collaborative sessions to dissect processes into root cause analyses. The subsequent day might be a similar process with an entirely different client. Alternatively, I would also have training sessions for a class of 6-20 people. It’s a different day-to-day approach that keeps my work exciting.

How do you think manufacturers should approach their CI or Lean efforts?

It really depends on what the company is trying to achieve, but it usually encourages a specific way of thinking in the organization. Regardless of how big or small the company is, the key is to address the bottlenecks within your processes, minimizing errors and making sure that efficacy is the goal. For more experienced and trained companies, there’s the option of following methodologies like Six Sigma, which focuses on reducing variations in processes through statistical analysis.

Watch Nico explain his unique approach to Lean Training

How is your process with a new client? Do you have a similar routine for all new projects?

When I take on a new project, my process always starts with some background research about the industry. This provides me with initial insights into the company, which proves beneficial when I initially interact with the team to grasp their basic operations. Though it gives me a basic idea, two similar companies in the same industry can have unique aspects. As per my process, I do learn about the products and the company information, but my real learning comes when I physically visit their site and see their processes.

I believe, sometimes, not knowing too much about the industry can be very helpful. When I come in, see and hear things for the first time, I ask a lot of questions, even if they seem simple. Almost like a layman, asking “why” and “how”, and questioning their basic processes usually uncovers a lot of hidden problems and inefficiencies.

My goal is to make things run smoothly, and this often starts with asking questions and observing processes. So, in any new project and industry, my initial steps involve understanding by asking questions and walking through the processes.

Take the Lean & Six Sigma Self-Assessment

DVIRC has created a Lean & Six Sigma Self-Assessment to help you understand the opportunities you have to leverage process improvement and talent development within your organization.

Our goal is to help you identify areas in the organization where you can eliminate waste, reduce costs, improve the performance of your staff, and increase your bottom line moving forward.

Thinking about upskilling your people or improving your processes? Contact our Customer Support & Success specialist Teri Grumbrecht or fill out the online contact form here.

Teri Grumbrecht

Customer Success and Support
Phone: 215-287-8378