A collaborative approach to Lean

Most business leaders have heard about the improvement power of Lean. Initial results are often dramatic. It is common to see productivity improvements in triple-digit percent gains the first time Lean is effectively deployed in an area.

While initial lean activities often have demonstrated results, many companies have difficulty sustaining improvement momentum over time. Members of an effectively managed Lean consortium have found that a trusted group of peer companies, working together, can help to sustain a culture of continuous improvement among members.

What is a "Lean consortium?"

A lean consortium is a small group of companies that work together to apply Lean principles to processes in each other’s companies over the course of one year. The Peters Company facilitates lean consortiums, delivering all of the training, materials, tools, and professional event coordination to deliver outcomes that exceed participants’ expectations.

High Commitment + High Value

  • Three key employees understand Lean concepts and how to apply them
  • Site Leader must be trained and engaged throughout the program
  • Participants learn their roles and responsibilities in driving a sustainable lean culture
  • Visible evidence of lean principles applied to the business
  • Peer-to-peer accountability and support shared with trusted practitioners in other companies

Company Benefits

  • Combination of training, tools, and hands-on experience for three people
  • Powerful industry peer support and sharing of different perspectives
  • Measurable productivity improvements for hosting companies

How it works: Commit to Training, Improvement Workshops, and Support

A company engages three people each year. The first year, this typically is the company owner/manager plus two others. These three become trained in Lean principles and “volunteer” to serve with improvement events at different facilities throughout the year.

Training. Three participants receive Lean fundamentals and tools, application, assignments with report-outs, and best practices specific to the industry. Consortium members also benefit from deep discounts — normally 50% — on additional seminars, workshops, and lighthouse tours throughout the year.

Improvement Workshop. Hosting companies receive one on-site improvement event in their businesses, with help from other consortium members. These “kaizen events” involve direct, hands-on changes with a professional facilitator and trusted peer practitioners from other companies. The team makes rapid changes the day of the activity in order to immediately gain improvements and reinforce learning.

  • Team members learn standard work for kaizen — a proven effective method for developing leaders and engaging people at all levels of an organization in change.
  • With so much talent to draw from at one time, each team has Lean veterans working alongside less experienced personnel.

Support. All activities are facilitated, planned early, and well coordinated so time commitment is balanced through the year. During the initial training phase, every participant receives a handbook that contains all of the principles learned through the program. Hosting companies are coached on needed pre-work for kaizen activity. All of the tools are made available for participants electronically and can be personalized for the company to use at any time.

Open Membership

The Oregon Lean Consortium announced that the program is now open to new members for 2020. Contact Elizabeth Peters for details, costs, and an application form.

If you’re interested in starting a Lean Consortium in your region, contact us for details and what it takes to make it happen.


To start a Lean consortium in your area, contact us at 503-250-2235 or email us at info@petersco.net.

Consortium FAQ