Successful Lean Workshop with OEN and Friends

On June 19th, Lean Portland consultants Kjell Van Zoen and Brion Hurley conducted a 5-hour Lean and Green Workshop.

The event was coordinated by one of the nonprofit clients of Lean Portland, Oregon Entrepreneurs Network (OEN), and the space was provided by Ruby Receptionists.

Over 30 attendees arrived to learn more about Lean concepts and tools. Attendees included OEN staff, Ruby employees, other nonprofit clients (Free Geek and The Rebuilding Center), and other local businesses interested in learning more.

The attendees learned about lean concepts such as: lean culture, respect for people, kaizen and continuous improvement, how lean can improve the environment, single piece flow vs batching, pull, kanban, the 8 deadly wastes, value streams, and much more!

The course was highlighted by a camera simulation, along with 2 improvement rounds, where teams implemented single piece flow, cellular layouts, kanban, and reduced customer defects.

Overall, the feedback was very positive, and plus/delta sheets were reviewed to make the next workshop even better!

Shorter, free Lean workshops are being setup in July and August. If you are interested in attending, visit the links below:

Press Release: Lean Portland Partners with New Leadership at OEN

Portland, Oregon – April 14, 2017 – Maggie Finnerty, the new Executive Director at Oregon Entrepreneurs Network (OEN), announced today that OEN is entering into an agreement with Lean Portland (a Benefit Company) for lean coaching and consulting services.

Often associated with the manufacturing industry, lean principles have potential to drastically improve the efficiency of nonprofits, many of which are already operating with scarce human and financial resources. As Lean Portland extends its reach into the nonprofit sector, it hopes to help nonprofits reduce operating costs and strengthen revenue streams by helping staff better prioritize and focus their time.

The agreement is part of Lean Portland’s unique mission: Developing our members leadership skills by helping nonprofit organizations learn to continuously improve.

“During a change in leadership, many existing processes are often revisited and called into
question,” says Finnerty, who started her role in January. “There is no better time for OEN to
start our Lean Journey, and we’re thrilled to have access to the unique talents of Lean
Portland’s volunteers. We are surprised and delighted to have world-class talent volunteering their time for us.”

“We’re here to teach the tools, but more importantly, we are coaching staff to help them adopt the underlying mindset that drives positive engagement,” explains Matt Horvat, Founder of Lean Portland. “Our vision is that Portland is a city where people are actively engaged in making improvements to their own work. And having ownership in your work is fundamental to dignity.

As Taiichi Ohno, the father of lean, used to put it, it’s about “respect for humanity.”

Lean Portland is also engaged in projects with The ReBuilding Center and Free Geek. Past
clients include Friends of the Children and Social Venture Partners. The current project for OEN involves Lean expert volunteers Kjell van Zoen of, Brion Hurley of Rockwell Collins, and Thomas Cox of Becoming a Best Boss.

The OEN staff looks forward to reporting their progress to their board, to their members and to the public.

About OEN
Oregon Entrepreneurs Network (OEN) helps entrepreneurs start up and scale up through
mentorship; hands-on business training; and access to loans, cash, and capital. A nonprofit,
membership-driven organization with a 25-year track record, OEN drives innovation, facilitates job creation, and puts Oregon on the map as a center for entrepreneurial excellence. For more information, visit

About Lean Portland
Lean Portland is committed to jointly developing leadership skills of its members and the staff of local non-profit organizations through project-based volunteer work that lead to continuous improvement. It has been a formalized professional organization since 2010 with the ultimate goal to ‘teach itself out of a job’ by developing people’s capabilities, building the Lean brand, and creating lasting impacts in the larger community.

To reach this mission, Lean Portland focuses on creating educational opportunities for members that are directly connected to pro-bono projects for local non-profit organizations. Lean Portland also provides members with networking and educational events, as well as the opportunity to build lasting relationships with other members and non-profit organizations. By creating an open source of methods, resources, and projects completed by the group, communities through the world will be able to replicate successes and learn from mistakes.

OEN Sponsorship Process – Days 1-3

The Oregon Entrepreneurs Network (OEN) helps entrepreneurs start up and scale up by connecting them to peers and mentors, startup funding opportunities, and hands-on training.

They are going through a big transition, as long-time Executive Director Linda Weston retired after 17 years of service to OEN and the entrepreneurial community in Oregon. New Executive Director Maggie Finnerty was looking to re-evaluate processes and responsibilities after taking over officially in January, and Lean Portland team reached out at the right time.

We had an initial meeting with OEN in early January, and setup recurring meetings with them every Monday for 2-3 hours per session.

Day 1

We met with the staff on January 23rd to map out their process to bring on corporate and event sponsors. The process was identified as a focus area, and one that needed more structure and understanding. They felt there was some opportunities to make it better, and it is an important process for the health of their nonprofit organization.

We first started with an exercise to define their purpose, to make sure everyone was on the same page. We discussed what type of clients are ideal, and if they were planning to continue with that audience, or shift in a different direction.

For training, Kjell did an excellent job of introducing the following concepts, and tying them back to the work they did:

  • Flow
  • Kaizen
  • A3
  • PDCA
  • 8 forms of waste
  • Takt time (sponsors needed per week)
  • Batching vs single piece flow (i.e. updating website)
  • 5S

We completed a current state process map, and identified some opportunities to pursue in future meetings.

For homework, we assigned 5S activity for each staff member in their office.

Day 2

Some initial 5S activity was completed, but it will take a few weeks to get through all the steps.

We broke into two groups for most of the meeting. Group 1 looked at the financial system (Quickbooks), and setup an online account to make it easier to access. Group 2 talked about the back-end website system, and how it could be used for invoicing and other functionality.

As a team, we reviewed the sponsorship process from Day 1, and discussed triggers that need to be in place when new sponsors come on board, and who would be responsible for these new steps. We also clarified some membership and sponsorship timelines and benefits.

Day 3

Discussions on invoicing options were reviewed, and further actions were identified to pursue, to see if there is a way to minimize the number of systems.

Progress was made on documenting current state photos for office organization. The team is considering blocking out a half or full day in order to make dramatic progress on their 5S efforts. This will allow them to remove unused storage space, and possibly change the layout of the office to take better advantage of the space.

Tip sheets were also drafted, in order to be used as a reference for other employees, and will continue to be updated over time with new additions and feedback. In addition, troubleshooting guides were developed for common technical problems on the website that are sent in via email or called in.

We also created a simple kanban board, to make sure everyone understood the number of projects going on, and how this could be used going forward. The team discussed how to identify each swim lane, by person or by project. We decided to use the swim lanes by project, and color code the sticky notes by person. Kanban boards will also be created for major projects. Wall space was identified to post the boards for review. There are multiple options for using electronic kanban boards (and similar systems have been used in the past), but we decided to start with a manual paper system to get used to the process.