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Wednesday, September 26, 2012 - Startup Lean - A Great Success!
Mac-OU INC launched their new Startup Lean program in September as part of the OU Lean Diversification Program.

Startup Lean is designed to help startups get off on the right foot by learning how to use valuable Lean principles to be as efficient, creative and successful as possible from day one to full business maturity. Participants learned about Lean principles, how they can help startups, how to increase value-added time, to shorten product development and supply chain processes, to measure actual progress and to ask customers what they really value.

Instructors Debra Setman, co-founder and lead adviser of Arbed Solutions and co-founder of the Michigan Lean Consortium, and Leon Liu, founder of y0, worked many hands-on activities into the curriculum. This included business process mapping and "Leaning the Tower" measurement tool meant to teach the importance of efficiency.

The Startup Lean process included a pre-survey, to show what startups in the area really are in need of in terms of Lean. Results are as follows:

  • Participants in the survey included 54 individuals, 52 percent of which have had small businesses for over two years.
  • These individuals come from various industries, the largest being manufacturing at 33 percent, then 25 percent consulting, 14 percent energy and various others.
  • More than 50 percent of these companies are located in Macomb County, with the majority of the others in Oakland and Wayne Counties.
  • When asked if they found it easy to get established in the state and respective county, 65 percent said they found it very easy to do both.
  • When asked what the two biggest issues are in running a business over which there is  control, participants responded with marketing and accountability/organization structure.
  • When asked what the two biggest issues are in running a business over which there is little control, participants responded with financing, taxes and federal regulations.
  • Items that are most critical to business' success include marketing and financial assistance.
  • Trainings that are most beneficial to the participants run across a wide range, anywhere from marketing and social media to accounting and HR to grants and government contracts.
  • Interestingly enough, Tuesday mornings are the best time for individuals to attend trainings and seminars.