by Molly Reichard, NWIRC, Culture Development & Training Specialist

Photo of Lean Together tour at Viking Plastics in Corry PA
NWIRC’s Lean Together™ working group visited Viking Plastics for a tour and attended their morning drumbeat meeting

Last May, a group came together for a reboot of the popular NWIRC program, Lean Together™. These 21 participants, from 6 different companies, had previous success with Lean Together™ and implementing concepts of 2 second lean in order to develop a culture of continuous improvement. Aside from that, these companies had something else in common. They lost momentum during the pandemic! A special cohort of Lean Together™ was convened eight months ago for monthly sessions to help companies pick up where they left off.

At the mid-point check-in session in November, participants shared their successes (and in some cases challenges) with their stand-up meetings, 3S or 5S activities for workplace organization, documenting improvement with before and after photos, training employees company-wide on the eight wastes, and most of all – improvements with their overall communication and culture. All participants noted that this reboot was exactly what they needed to revitalize their previous progress, most of them saying their companies are now focusing on better communication for people, on every level, to make better decisions. The
mid-point survey among the group highlighted how Lean Together™, and the three pillars of 2 second lean, have impacted their companies, including: 1) better focus on outcomes and team mindset; 2) all departments are more engaged in making improvements; 3) everyone is now on the same page and accountable; and 4) improved employee communication, just to name a few. So far, the group has toured Viking Plastics to learn about their best practices using 2 second lean for numerous years, impact of their cultural shift, and attend their morning drumbeat meeting. Subsequent road trips included tours at a few of the participating companies to see their progress, including Franklin Industries, Industrial Sales & Manufacturing, and Electric Materials.

This Lean Together™ group is looking forward to graduation in March, where they will give final presentations of their company’s accomplishments with the program.

A new cohort of Lean Together 1.0 is scheduled to start in May 2023. Contact Molly Reichard for more information at