Productivity: Lean Workshops - Carlos Venegas


Sometimes big problems require special attention. That’s where Lean workshops come in. Carlos will guide your team as they work to understand and solve a problem, and then implement and sustain the solution.

Young creative business people meeting at office with blue overlay


Sometimes big problems require special attention. That’s where Lean workshops come in. Carlos will guide your team as they work to understand and solve a problem, and then implement and sustain the solution.

People sketching a business plan at a creative office

Kaizen Workshop

A Kaizen workshop is a focused, process-improvement workshop that involves the people who will be affected by the improvements. The improvements are typically implemented immediately upon completion of the workshop, although some improvements may be scheduled for implementation at a later date.

We view kaizen workshops as an extended, multi-phase project rather than as a three- or five-day event. Here are the three phases of the Kaizen workshop:

Phase 1: Preparing for the Kaizen

A successful kaizen depends on successful preparation. The preparation phase is the most important phase of the kaizen. During this phase, teams create all the inputs required to run a successful kaizen. We recommend four to eight weeks to prepare for a kaizen.

Phase 2: Conducting the Kaizen

Workshops traditionally are 3 to 5 days long, but this is not a rule. The workshop length will depend on the following factors:

  • Complexity of the target process
  • Organization goals
  • Size of the team
  • Process boundaries (what’s in, what’s out)

Teams are encouraged to develop low- or no-cost solutions that can be implemented during the workshop or in the week following it.

Phase 3:  Sustaining the Gains

This phase drives success.

The creative excitement and feeling of accomplishment people experience in the workshop builds valuable momentum.

To build on this momentum, we provide support through monthly report-outs and leadership coaching for six months after the completion of the workshop. This is where the real pay-off is achieved. The report-outs give the team a venue to report to managers their progress with implementing and sustaining the improvements. We provide coaching to managers so they get the most out of their investment in Lean and their people.

Workflow mapping Carlos Venegas

Workflow Mapping Workshop

A workflow is the set of activities that make up a business process.

A workflow map is a visual representation of the flow of materials and information through the process. It is a simple, concrete, tool that traces the current flow of value from end to end. This map then provides inputs for setting priorities and targets, and the implementation plan to build a better future workflow.


This workshop is conducted online.

There are three tangible end-products of a workflow mapping exercise…


A Current-state Map

A current-state map is a picture of what is. It’s different from a typical process flow in that it is a picture of what is actually happening in the process, not what “should” be happening. A process flow looks at what the steps of the process are, whereas the workflow map goes much further than that. With the data on the map, you can determine all of the following:

  • the health of your process
  • where the bottlenecks are
  • what people are doing
  • how the process actually works, which can be different from the way it was originally intended

The purpose of the workflow map is to give you a realistic view of what’s actually happening in your process. This forms the foundation for the next two outputs.



When work teams map their workflow together, opportunities for improvement come into sharp focus. These opportunities may be problems to solve, or they may be promising ideas generated by the team.



The implementation plan is the most important document in the workflow mapping process. This plan outlines how you will convert your opportunities and ideas into solid actions and measurable results.

We recommend conducting a workflow mapping workshop before doing a kaizen. Embarking on a series of Lean kaizens without workflow mapping your system involves many risks, such as the following:

  • Improvement efforts that are not aligned with business strategy,
  • Random improvements in the process that do not connect into a cohesive result, and
  • Lack of communication and coordination with other elements of the organization.

Implementing Lean requires high levels of investment and organizational commitment. Expending these resources and energy in a haphazard manner without a clear sense of direction is wasteful and counterproductive. Workflow mapping provides a unifying plan that helps focus your Lean efforts on the process issues that most impact your organization’s strategic intentions.

Another risk of doing a Lean event without workflow mapping is generating a series of improvements that do not yield a systemic result. You may indeed have successful process improvement efforts, but your actual total throughput or velocity along the whole process will be either unaffected or the improvements will not fulfill their potential.

Workflow mapping also provides an opportunity for communication, coordination, and buy-in along the whole process. These are prerequisites for a successful Lean implementation.

If you are looking for something specific for your organization or team, don’t hesitate to reach out to explore your options. Contact Me