At this year’s General Assembly, EU-CORD CEOs will consider what defines a Christian professional NGO in the humanitarian and development sphere. In this article, Andrew Paris, Process Excellence Manager at Medair, shares his experiences with Lean Green Belt process improvement. EU-CORD members can participate in a Lean workshop in March: https://www.eu-cord.org/events/lean-green-belt-training/
Andrew Parris writes:
We all want to achieve more with the limited resources we have because we see the great needs that our NGOs seek to meet and the immense suffering we seek to alleviate. And while we encounter and adapt to seemingly countless external challenges that are outside our control, we can significantly improve our performance by innovating to create new and develop better ways of working – better processes. Led by Toyota, private sector companies have developed and refined “Lean” concepts and tools to empower employees to continuously improve performance by solving problems.
A few NGOs have also begun to pursue Process Excellence and make significant improvements to their process, thereby increasing their performance.
Erick Gesure, a Finance Officer in the World Vision East Africa Regional Office, streamlined his daily finance tasks so that he finished his work typically between 1 and 2pm, rather than between 6 and 7pm. This gave him great personal satisfaction and enabled him to take on interesting projects to further improve Finance operations.
Tom Russell, WASH Advisor in Medair DR Congo, modified an Excel workbook to reduce the time to determine materials needed and costs for WASH interventions from 7 days to 7 minutes. While not everyone I train achieves such spectacular results as these two, I have seen and heard many stories of small and big improvements from people who have learned and applied the basic concepts and tools of Lean and process improvement.
The empowerment of people, the reduction of administrative burden and the increased impact or our work inspire me to teach, coach, facilitate and promote process improvement in NGOs for the past 15 years. I am eager to collaborate with others who want to explore what this can look like.
Andrew Parris, PhD and Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt; Process Excellence Manager at Medair