A collaborative approach to Lean

Across the U.S., the costs of doing business are rising: labor, energy, taxes, and more. With the aging of our working population, labor is less available, and competition for skilled labor is greater than ever. Companies that want to stay in business are focusing heavily on their margins to stay competitive.

Lean helps you reduce your business risk

Lean is a proven method for eliminating waste in processes that results in more value to customers, delivered at a lower cost, in a shorter time, with fewer defects and less human effort. The principles of Lean come from the Toyota Production System and were developed over decades as the company worked its way out of the devastation resulting from the Second World War.

Lean practitioners seek the “least waste way” to perform tasks and processes. It is a never-ending quest. The improvements made today become the baseline for future improvements. As people learn to see and eliminate as much waste as possible from processes, they discover still better ways of performing the work, and the cycle repeats.

Most business leaders have heard about the improvement power of Lean. Initial results of Lean application 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.

Lean is hard to sustain

Businesses often start the Lean journey on their own. They may read books, invest in training and have a consultant come in to run Lean events. While past lean activities may have demonstrated results, most companies have difficulty sustaining improvement gains because activities are often viewed as one-time “fix it” initiatives without a plan and support for continued improvement over the long term. Companies often miss the human factor of implementing change, which is critical to continuous improvement success.

Members of an effectively managed Lean consortium have found that a trusted group of peer companies, working together on Lean, not only brings results, but delivers a strong, positive message of long-term commitment to employee development and continuous improvement.

What is a "Lean consortium?"

A lean consortium is a small group of companies that work together to learn lean principles and methods, and then apply them 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 event coordination to deliver outcomes that exceed participants’ expectations.

High Commitment + High Value

  • Three key employees understand Lean concepts and how to apply them
  • 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

  • Complete package of training, tools, and hands-on experience
  • Greatly reduced costs for Lean training and practitioner assistance
  • Development of “lean champions” in the company
  • Powerful industry peer support for key employees
  • Measurable productivity improvements

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 full class days, near the start of the year, cover Lean fundamentals and tools, application, assignments with report-outs, and best practices specific to the industry. Any participating company can host a training session and benefit from the expertise and “outsider perspective” during the tour. Hosting companies must provide a training room and lunch for up to 21 people, plus tours to possible improvement areas in the business. Consortium members also benefit from deep discounts — normally 50% — on additional seminars, workshops, and lighthouse tours throughout the year.

Improvement Workshop. Hosting companies receive on-site improvement events in their businesses, with help from other consortium members. These “kaizen events” involve direct, hands-on changes at the hosting company with a 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. The learning curve drops dramatically and a great deal can be accomplished in a short time.

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 and has a number to call for help. All of the tools are made available for participants electronically and can be personalized for the company to use at any time.

Contact us if you’d like to participate with a Lean consortium in your area!


To start a Lean consortium in your area, contact us at 503-320-5501 or email us at info@petersco.net.

Consortium FAQ