The Process Consultant
The role of the Lean Enterprise Continuous Improvement (CI) Manager and/or process
consultant is a crucial enabler of process improvement. The CI Manager applies the
skills of process consulting to lead the learning and change within an organization. As
more than a project manager, the process consultant provides the leadership that builds
commitment and understanding required to accomplish the improvement goals for the
organization. The process consultant must live the Lean Enterprise principles and
techniques that focus on optimizing value through a fact-based decision process.
A process consultant’s key role is to oversee and direct process improvement teams to
help them achieve business goals. The process consultant’s responsibility is to support
constructive change from an improvement project’s conception and to transfer the
ownership to the team leader as the project matures to implementation.
The process consultant’s view must always be aware of the enterprise-wide implications
of the changes at the work-team level. Understanding the characteristics of changing
toward a Lean Enterprise will allow thinking “two steps ahead” of the current focus of
activity, and will assure that the overall value stream will realize the benefits of local
The primary objective for the process consultant is to provide the synergy for making
breakthrough improvements possible. The process consultant acts as a catalyst for
process owners and process improvement teams to achieve defined improvement
objectives and specific goals. To accomplish this objective, the process consultant is an
internal process improvement consultant and leader of change. He/she must understand,
but be independent of the work processes to provide unbiased direction to executive and
senior management, process improvement teams, and the organization overall. The
process consultant must focus on the process of process improvement as well as the
The process consultant role is usually a full-time position with a specific job title,
description, and grade level no lower than manager. Responsibilities and accountabilities
are clearly stated in key job requirements and supported by immediate and senior
management. Individuals selected for this role must have established credibility within
the organization and have the authority to implement and sustain changes.
A formal selection and assessment process is recommended for process consultant
candidates. Once selected, candidates often complete consultant training and may be
certified as a process consultant.
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