SOURCE: Rucker & Associates

Lean Six Sigma

December 29, 2010 10:00 ET

Rucker's Real-Time Coaching Program Helps Fannie May Spot Inefficiencies to Produce Immediate Results

RALEIGH, NC--(Marketwire - December 29, 2010) - For many companies, going Lean is often about making big changes, which requires a team of people to halt their workload and learn new processes and procedures. But what if an organization can spare neither the time nor the people for intensive training away from the shop floor? Enter "Real-Time Coaching," a new Lean Six Sigma training technique introduced by Rucker & Associates that has been very successful for companies such as Fannie May Confections.

Rucker & Associates helps organizations of all types accelerate business performance by implementing Lean Six Sigma efficiency techniques. Lean methods are typically taught to a group of managers, supervisors and employees, who then implement the changes. In the process of introducing real-time coaching, Rucker's team of Lean Six Sigma experts follow management as they work, teaching them to look for process improvements through "Lean" eyes.

The new technique is perfect for smaller companies or those in the midst of their peak production season, said Victor Klein, managing partner at Rucker & Associates.

"Instead of pulling people off the floor, we can teach them as they work," said Klein. "We catch opportunities to make improvements with the supervisor right in the moment, which immediately boosts efficiency and is a very effective form of training.

"The result is an organization's support staff can implement these changes immediately," Klein continued. "Over a few weeks, they end up with an extremely efficient operation."

Real-time coaching saved Fannie May Confections, Inc. $1.2 million last year alone. Executives at the popular candy company praised the technique for helping move more than 300 unnecessary pallets from the plant floor during the company's busiest season.

"The great thing about real-time coaching is that it gives you the tools to act now, and see results quickly without doing a full Kaizen training event," said Vince Grishaber, operations manager at Fannie May. "The pallets were done over the course of two days, but gave us improvements that are engrained permanently. We created an in/out system for materials, and were able to see the opportunities more clearly without all the unnecessary clutter. Our facility never ran as effective in our busy season as it did last year when we made the adjustments."

According to Klein, real-time coaching also is an effective follow-up after the original Lean Six Sigma Kaizen event. The technique is especially useful when teams are struggling to follow new processes and have fallen back into old habits.

"Real time coaching is a very effective tool in driving sustainment," said Bill Rohm, who served as Fannie May's vice president of operations during these changes. "By deploying this strategy, we were able to be much more efficient as we ramped up for peak season, which resulted in the $1.2 million in labor savings and an 18 percent productivity improvement."

About Rucker & Associates
Rucker & Associates is a high-performance consultancy dedicated to helping companies discover dramatic new efficiencies using Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma improvement methodologies. Rucker's hands-on mentoring process with clients produces dramatic results -- training teams to accelerate change and implement continuous improvement. Every Rucker project features an unconditional guarantee. Learn more at

For more information about implementing a real-time coaching program within your organization, contact Rucker & Associates directly at (919) 873-1268.

Contact Information

  • Jennifer Wig
    (919) 830-8688