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CI Manager or Part-time Consultant?

Find the right approach for your company.

A continuous improvement manager who is always working on process improvement is an important part of many manufacturing teams. When there is someone on staff whose job it is to define trouble-spots, find waste, track data, develop and implement improvements, and monitor for consistency, your Lean culture continues to build on itself. For a lot of businesses, this is the perfect approach to ongoing optimization. There can be drawbacks to that approach as well, however.

Many workforces are simply too small to carry a full-time CI manager. When the belts tighten, as they cyclically do, that position is often the first to get cut, which can jeopardize any improvements that have already been made or projects that are in the works, and stymies any new developments.

Because the first tenet of a Lean culture is to value the contribution of every employee, in some ways, having one CI champion can seem counter-intuitive. On the other hand, if one person is not responsible for driving projects and monitoring implementation and sustainment, these things often do not get accomplished.

One solution is to hire a CI consultant; a part-time Lean expert who visits on a schedule, guides projects to completion, monitors previous projects' controls, and responds to employees' observations about new waste and additional problems to solve. CITEC clients can implement this on a trial or rolling basis, and can scale it to the current needs of the business. If the approach interests you, reach out to Steve Lockwood at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.