Smart people, no system for improvement
Smallworld Systems, a Norwegian enterprise software company, was challenged with increasing customer demand for software customization. Smallworld’s software helped telecom and energy companies manage their assets, but customers had slightly differing needs. The company’s main challenge: improving customer responsiveness while continuing to ship new product releases.
Smallworld’s on-site consulting work was performed by members of the same engineering team that was working on new product releases. Smallworld struggled with a blend of priorities and business models, and prioritizing product features versus requests for customizations was also challenging.
As is often the case, Smallworld’s own employees already had ideas for what could be done to improve the situation. What the company lacked, however, was a system for identifying, selecting and solving problems.
LSI provided leadership coaching as well as employee and manager education on Lean organization design principles and Kaizen. Smallworld organized regular sessions for Hansei (reflection), and LSI provided advice for how to organize improvement ideas and projects. The training was initially delivered on-site to all employees and LSI also provided follow-up sessions as webinars.
To facilitate real-time transparency and efficient workflow, LSI helped Smallworld map its value streams and set up Kanban boards for each of them. This provided a baseline for continuous improvement efforts.
Successful knowledge transfer of basic Lean practices
Real-time transparent operations
Improved customization responsiveness
Improved customer satisfaction
Employees become involved with strategy and business model questions