FAQs

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Welcome to our site! We are excited that you are here and hope we do a good job of describing who we are, what inspires us, and most importantly, how we might assist you in achieving great results through great behavior.

We partner with select organizations to create and sustain lasting change for the better, and a culture of intentional value creation based on trust, respect, and humility. If this is something that interests you, please contact us.

What services does Mike Orzen & Associates, Inc. provide?

We help organizations of all types through many industries by offering on-site as well as remote training, coaching, and consulting services in Leadership, Coaching, Enterprise Excellence, Lean, Shingo-based workshops.  Our efforts help to create a culture of team-based problem solving and continuous process improvement within our client organizations.

We tried Lean or Six Sigma before and it didn’t work here – why should it now?

Most failed Lean and Six Sigma transformations are focused primarily on tools such as 5s, Value Stream Mapping, SPC, Kaizen, A3, and standard work. While tools are important and certainly play a key roll, successful transformations focus on changing daily behavior in a way that reinforces new habits of success. We will be with you every step of the way to ensure you stay focused on the essential elements of Enterprise Excellence while avoiding the common mistakes that sidetrack most transformation attempts.

To achieve a Lean Transformation, who needs to get involved?

A true transformation begins with Leadership. Leaders and then managers need to understand what the roadmap looks like, what their participation will mean, and how their rolls will expand. We strongly suggest that you not proceed with any Lean training or improvement activities until you have Leadership commitment. Once in place, you will need to identify an area to establish a “beachhead” where an early win can be demonstrated (this is also known as a “model line”). In order for that to happen, managers and associates will need to be recruited as members of an “advance group” who will act as forerunners for others in the organization.

How do we find the time to “do Lean?”

You are not alone; we have never met anyone who claimed to have the time for improvement activity. If you are serious about transforming the level of performance in your organization, you need to reprioritize the importance of Lean and Enterprise Excellence. A lack of time is actually a lack of prioritization and not really a lack of time. We believe that all organizations are either getting better (continuously improving) or getting worse (continuously declining). The choice is yours and the responsibility to take action can only be owned by you.

Is Lean and Enterprise Excellence just another form of downsizing the workforce?

Absolutely not! Lean is about creating customer value using the least resources necessary. Enterprise Excellence is about achieving great results with great behavior. The wellsprings of improvement ideas come from the people closest to the work. If people discover Lean is just a code word for layoffs, they will immediately disengage and kill the transformation.

If you engage your people to improve processes by making work easier, better, faster, and cheaper (in that order), you will achieve more with the people you now have. The additional capacity you free up will be reinvested in ongoing people development and process improvement activities required to achieve ever-higher levels of performance.

How long will it take to change our culture?

The culture you have today is the result of the way you have running your business since its inception. That may be over 100 years or perhaps only a few years. Regardless of how long you have been in business, your culture is deeply embedded in the daily habits of your people. Lasting cultural change takes time. You will begin to see positive changes in your people in a matter of weeks and months, but real cultural change takes years. In our experience, 3 to 5 years is fairly rapid while 5 to 7 years is more realistic.

Don’t we need an industry expert?

No, what you need is an experienced guide and coach to bring Lean thinking and systems to your organization. We are confident you can fill the room with industry experts using your own staff. In fact, our experience shows that not having an outside industry expert in the room actually stimulates dialogue among your people and accelerates the improvement process. Engaging with an industry expert can sometimes be “fool’s gold” because your people sit back and wait for the expert to do the thinking for them.

How large of a firm is Mike Orzen & Associates and are they big enough for us?

We are a team of a handful of seasoned professionals who bring a depth of knowledge and experience to your company. We collaborate with one another to share our learning – both our successes and our setbacks. We challenge one another to continue learning, to grow, and to contribute at all times. On occasion, we contract with other known consultants whom we have worked with in the past and who share our values and depth of knowledge.

We have worked with companies as large as 45,000 employees and as small as 15! It is not our size, but our capability that qualifies us to work for you, to earn your trust, and to partner in your success.

Why would we want to do business with Mike Orzen & Associates?

Our practice is built on the experience and lessons learned from over 20 years of applying Lean, Six Sigma, and Operational Excellence in diverse environments including Manufacturing and Service industries, Banking, IT, Logistics, Insurance, Healthcare, Aerospace, Government, and Food & Beverage. Our entire approach is centered on knowledge transfer from us to you.

We intentionally do not employ a “global consulting firm” approach where we back up the bus and drop off a mob of young, bright, inexperienced consultants to facilitate countless value stream mapping and Kaizen improvement events. While they might seem impressive, these efforts rarely lead to meaningful learning or lasting improvements. Instead, we work with your people to drive the learning, behaviors, and results required to create a sustainable transformation.

Our direct involvement coaching Lean in a variety of environments has taught us that having no more than a few resources on site at any given time actually promotes internal ownership, creates real learning, and accelerates transformation. We don’t tell you what to do; we show your people how to apply the right thinking, systems, and behaviors to achieve sustainable results. When they do the work and develop their own countermeasures and solutions, they own the outcomes and commit to making things work.