RDK’s Lean Journey

For the past few years, RDK Engineers has taken many steps to start incorporating Lean and its
practices into our company.
At its core, Lean is a philosophy that seeks to increase client value and eliminate unnecessary
waste. By applying systems thinking, Lean organizations see the whole value stream of their
operations and find ways to use less material, effort, energy, and equipment to deliver
increased value to clients while providing meaningful work for staff. Lean has successfully been
applied by the manufacturing world to a variety of organizational challenges and is increasingly
being used in healthcare operations.
RDK’s Lean journey started with a half-day workshop in our Andover office in 2011 where we
tackled our internal RFI (Request for Information) process. In the class, we laid out every single
step of the process and identified very quickly all the waste in this process. RDK was able to
walk away with a Value Stream Map, which outlined our wastes and potential improvements
that could be made to our process.
A year later, ten RDK employees completed an 8 week course on Lean geared towards the
Healthcare industry. Many of RDK’s healthcare clients apply Lean to their projects, so improving
our understanding and application of Lean allowed us to align ourselves with their approach.
Since then, RDK has created a Lean Steering Committee that meets every other month to
discuss lean strategies and how to implement a continuous improvement culture. A subset of
our Lean Steering Committee has been meeting with each RDK departments to identify
improvements within their teams using one of the Lean tools called CEDAC (Cause and Effect
Diagram Adding Cards). The topic of the CEDAC’s are “what impedes us from doing our job to
the best of our ability?” and we run a workshop on that which ends with prioritizing
recommended solutions. It is a brainstorming session where dozens of ideas are offered and
then posted. We then chart the cost versus overall impact of each recommended improvement
and also vote on them to determine the most significant. RDK’s internal groups have also
decided to take the feedback from their CEDAC’s and spend at least one hour each month at a
staff meeting discussing Lean and potential recommended improvements. We are thrilled with
the progress we’ve been able to make.
RDK will continue on its Lean journey by holding internal workshops, applying improvements to
processes, minimizing waste and adapting these principles company-wide. While doing this, we
will start to apply Lean tools to our project work and continue to consider the tremendous
value that it can offer our clients.

 

RDK Principal Joe Bonanno identifies waste in the RDK RFI process.

RDK Principal Joe Bonanno identifies waste in the RDK RFI process.

An RDK group using the 'CEDAC' tool to brainstorm how we can all work more efficiently.

An RDK group using the ‘CEDAC’ tool to brainstorm how we can all work more efficiently.