17 March 2015

Are you “Lean management compatible”?

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More than a working method, a philosophy

Here are some of the key concepts of the approach that jive with our priorities here at Promutuel Assurance :

  • The company must prioritize a long-term strategy and focus on its overall goals..
  • Only the customer can define the value of a product or service..
  • Any activity that contributes to creating a product or service has added value; any other activity represents a waste that must be reduced or eliminated.
  • Processes must be implemented so as to allow for changes, i.e., eliminating any wait times, obstacles and constraints affecting the smooth running of operations.
  • Lean management helps to constantly improve working processes, and therefore customer service!
  • The management framework aims to ensure employees are skilled in the processes through direct supervision, management routines and visual indicators, all of which help to improve performance.

Why is an insurer implementing Lean management?

  • To ensure rapid, optimum service for customers
  • To boost employee motivation
  • To improve productivity

Lean management at Promutuel Insurance

Promutuel Insurance uses Lean methods in its Insurance and Information Systems departments.

What does this approach look like in practice?

Routine meetings are organized on a daily basis for employees, coordinators and managers. These short, structured meetings provide a forum for developing and presenting work plans, monitoring progress and ensuring any necessary adjustments are made in order to promote a culture of continuous improvement.

Catherine-Bertrand-Promutuel-AssuranceTestimonial by Catherine Bertrand, Senior Actuarial Analyst at Promutuel Insurance

Catherine, are you “Lean compatible” and, if so, what have you gained from this working method?

“Yes! I am ‘Lean compatible’ for a whole bunch of reasons, but here is what immediately springs to mind for me:

  • I feel my work is more organized and more structured.
  • I deliver my work on time thanks to a detailed schedule that sets out all the target needs.
  • My supervisors are more accessible on a daily basis because of our meetings every morning.
  • - I have a better idea of what the other people in my team are working on, what their needs are, and when the rush periods during the week tend to be.

Basically, this approach helps me to rationalize my work and focus on the essential so I can relax in the knowledge I’m moving projects along. It was only recently that we started using these working methods at Promutuel Insurance, but I have to say I’m a big fan so far!”

Simon Poitras - Promutuel AssuranceTestimonial by Simon Poitras, Director of Continuous Improvement and Business Solutions at Promutuel Insurance and Lean management expert

Simon, are you “Lean compatible”?

«Oui ! Je suis totalement « lean compatible ». “Yes! I am totally ‘Lean compatible’! In fact, I’m an engineer who specializes in continuous improvement and I was an in-house project manager when we rolled out the initial phase for Lean management in the Insurance department here. In my current role, I’m responsible for the sustainability of the Lean approach and for implementing phases 2 and 3 in the Insurance department, which will enable all employees to grow and prosper in an environment that promotes the continuous improvement of our business processes. My team is also involved in implementing Lean in the Information Systems department. I must say that Lean management at Promutuel Insurance has been a success for the following reasons: :

  • All employees and managers have been quick to embrace the new tools and management routines.
  • It’s easy to see the work done so far thanks to the tables showing progress indicators in the common work areas.
  • Frequent communication between employees and their managers makes follow-up a breeze and is empowering for employees.”

Readers, if you have any questions on this topic, don’t hesitate to contact our two experts directly using the Comments field on this page. They’ll be pleased to help!