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Tip: Measure Lean Success in Total Runs, Not Just Home Runs

February 14, 2011

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Measuring the ROI of process improvements requires understanding the goals of the process and the actual deliverables of your process changes. "Success in lean operations isn't about hitting the home run," said Chuck Cohen, president of Wilkes-Barre, PA-based Benco Dental. "It's more about hitting a bunch of singles that add up to a lot of runs."

Small changes in operations can create significant changes – and savings – over time. Going lean is a "forever process," Cohen said in Lessons Learned on Lean. The real success comes from continually evaluating all of the companies' processes – before and after each initiative is implemented.

For example, Benco's process improvement team was charged with looking at customer returns. By identifying and eliminating waste in the process, the team was able to improve throughput by 50 percent over time. Add to that other improvements meant to reduce returns themselves, and the savings and efficiencies add up.

MDM recently held a free webcast on Lean for Distributors, where expert Chuck Emery presented real-life examples and principles for the successful implementation of lean in distribution. That webcast is available free on-demand: Register here.

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