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BENCHMARKING

Health-Check for Business

Why Assessing Maturity?

Today’s global marketplace demands that companies become faster and more productive on a consistent basis. To succeed and prosper in the long run, companies must drive the changes necessary to reach a level of health and maturity that make them invincible to attack by competitors. Do you operate at a world-class level? Do the online self-assessment to find out, benchmarking health and maturity level against world-class references. If you are experienced already, you can proceed directly to the assessment page by clicking AUDIT NOW or read more details about about Lean Factory Audit and Lean Office Audit below.

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Lean Factory Audit

The Lean Factory Audit (LFA) is designed for product companies, such as manufacturers and service companies with high product content. The LFA assesses the process of converting raw materials into finished goods based on the 20 Keys to World-Class Manufacturing (WCM).

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Lean Office Audit

The Lean Office Audit (LFA) is designed for service companies operating in an office environment, like a call center or engineering firm. The LOA assesses the process of converting consumers into satisfied customers based on the 20 Keys to World-Class Service (WCS).

For Manufacturing and Service

The online assessment tool “Lean Audit” has a wide scope, covering most manufacturing and service operations. The Lean Factory Audit (LFA) questionnaire is for companies that produce a tangible product, such as a bakery or an automotive assembly line. The Lean Office Audit (LOA) questionnaire is for companies that produce information, such as a call center, travel agency, or accounting firm. Each audit has 12 common keys and 8 specialized keys of which two are unique to factory and office settings, marked with asterisks (*):

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About Benchmarking

Benchmarking is the process of comparing processes, configuration, and performance levels relative to world-class standards. Benchmarking allows organizations to learn how well they operate (Status) and how well they could perform (Potential) when adapting best practices. Benchmarking establishes a reference point (Baseline), is used for defining the level of ambition (Target) and measuring improvements against (Achievement). Our web-based tool allows a fast, yet precise way to assess health and maturity level by following the 4-step process.

Diagnostics in 4 Steps

The four steps just take four hours to assess an entire business: (1) PREPARATION – set a date for the audit and select key people to participate; (2) AUDIT TOUR – walk the value stream in flow direction from input to output, evaluating people, processes, setup, and systems; (3) CHECKLISTS – expert-guided self-assessment to identify gaps and opportunities; (4) ACTION PLAN – select priorities and the top three keys to improve; then develop roadmaps to act on those priorities.

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Assessments Types – Audits and Checks

You can select from two different assessment types, the “Lean Audit” to assess an entire business or value stream across all 20 success-critical dimensions “keys”, and also the “Quick Check” to assess one single dimension, such as quality, delivery, efficiency, structure, maintenance, leadership etc.

  • Lean Audit (20 keys)  – answering 120 questions in 120 minutes
  • Quick Check (1 key) – answering 6 questions in 6 minutes

Improvement Phases and Benchmarking Levels

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  • A score of 5.0 is benchmark and qualifies for “Diamond”, a state of automatic excellence where performance is near perfect and approaching a technical or natural limit. Flow is seamless and highly transparent. Decisions are value-driven with focus on partnerships and transplants, extending strategy and structure to customers and suppliers to create a “Lean Enterprise”. Exceptional performance makes owners and managers confident that strong results will be delivered now and in the future. Level five compares to an Olympic athlete setting a new record or the leading team winning the world championship. The phase between 4 and 5 is described as “Leading”.
  • A score of 4.0 qualifies for Gold, a level where capabilities are well established and deliver consistent results. Processes are connected and quantitatively managed as one value stream rather than disjointed parts or individual departments. Performance is robust and competitive, but not yet automatic, still requiring frequent adjustments and handling of minor glitches to maintain desired levels. Satisfaction of customers and employees are consistently high. Such “Lean Corporation” has been optimized within its perimeters, is leading a region or segment. Level four compares to a local champion who is closely supervised by a trainer to maintain his or her title. The phase between 3 and 4 is described as “Performing”.
  • A score of 3.0 qualifies for Silver, a level where basic structures and capabilities are in place. The overall system is functional, processes are under control and confirmed as standards. Performance is on target most times but requires extra effort to compensate for instabilities and unforeseen issues. Problems are well understood and root-causes being addressed. Level three corresponds to a capable swimmer who steadily travels through the water but also requires continuous effort to stay afloat. The phase between 2 and 3 is described as “Improving”.
  • A score of 2.0 qualifies for Bronze, a level where people are aware of the issues and have taken first steps to contain problems, document processes, and build basic capability. Conditions are visibly improved, but the lack of discipline and weak standards still cause breakdowns, low efficiency and inconsistent output. Level two corresponds to someone who started with a therapy or fitness program. The phase between 1 and 2 is described as “Struggling”.
  • A score of 1.0 or “Iron” represents the starting level, where conditions are unstable and processes undefined or out of control. Performance is unpredictable, making it nearly impossible to meet targets. People work in reactive mode and are struggling to meet even basic demands. Conditions are sometimes chaotic and firefighting is considered normal. Level one is like someone with serious health issues that make it difficult to breathe, eat, or walk. The phase between 0 and 1 is described as “Failing”.
  • A score of 0.0 or “Sand” represents failure of vital functions, requiring subsidies/grant to stay afloat (keep operating. Level zero is comparable to patient on life-support, requiring intensive care to stay alive. This level is a hypothetical one and out of the scope of the Lean Audit, because an organization must be operational (alive) to be auditable and therefore scoring one and above.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)

  • What result to I get?

    Both, the Quick Check and full Lean Audit deliver a score on a 1-5 point scale, whereas a level of one “Iron” is lowest and five “Diamond” is highest (Benchmark).

  • When to use the factory audit?

    The Lean Factory Audit (LFA) is designed for product companies to assess the process of converting raw materials into finished goods.

  • When to use the office audit?

    The Lean Office Audit (LOA) is designed for service companies to assess the process of converting consumers into satisfied customers.

  • Who should participate in the audit?

    Representatives from core functions, such as commercial, operations, quality, service, technical must take part; optional are representatives from support functions, such as HR and IT.

  • How long does it take to do the audit?

    An experienced auditor answers one question per minute, so that a “Quick Check” takes around 6 minutes, while a full “Lean Audit” requires 2 full hours to complete all twenty keys. Beginners should schedule 10 minutes and 3 hours respectively.

  • Are all 20 keys relevant to any company?

    Yes, but to various degrees. Dependent on the company and industry, there are always keys that are critical and also those that are of lesser importance, but still relevant and worthwhile to be assessed.

  • What to do if multiple answers are correct?

    Select the ‘normal’ case that represents 80% of all situations and occurrences; never select favorable exceptions to prevent skewing the results.

  • Is a single score a valid indicator for an entire organization?

    Yes, for small and homogeneous organizations, led by the same leader or leadership team. For large corporations, no, as each entity must be audited separately to accurately assess the differences between them.

  • How often should the audit be repeated?

    Perform the audit at least once and ideally twice per year to get frequent feedback on progress.

  • What to do with the audit report?

    Select 3-12 priority areas to be tackled over the next 3-12 months, strengthening keys to compete and reducing weak spots.

  • How fast can a business evolve and mature?

    Under best conditions maturity level increases by +0.5 point per year, while most companies improve at 60-80% of this benchmark level or +0.3…0.4 point per year.

  • Is there a limit to improvement? What is the maximum score?

    Yes, each company can improve until reaching its natural limit (plateau), while the limit on the measurement scale is 5 points.