Beginning our Journey to a Lean Organization

Presented By:

Ted Keller & Tim Benshoof

Session Abstract:

As organizations evolve so do each of our every day jobs.  In early 2015 this meant a significant change for me from international startup work to a much greater focus on overall organizational metrics and profitability.  As I looked at this challenge I realized that our organization needed a number of things from our Finance and Accounting function which were currently missing:  1) Company metrics which were simple and actionable throughout the various organizational levels, 2) Financial reporting which was as useful for operational decision-making as it was for bank compliance and auditors, and 3)  A way to connect the dots between todays decisions and eventual results in a standard costing reporting world.  Secondarily, our organization had fully embraced the Toyota style of lean improvement tools and concepts; however I was concerned that we were too focused on the departmental and process step level and thus bumping into competing motivations within our organization and not optimizing organizational efficiency and profitability.

As I wrestled with and discussed these questions and how to overcome them, we stumbled across the concept of lean accounting via Brian Maskell’s website, and thus the 2015 Lean Accounting Summit.  Our attendance to the conference, plus the reading of the book Real Numbers convinced us that Value Stream Accounting was our answer and gave us both a road map and the confidence to move ahead with this initiative within our organization.

We then kicked off our journey to a lean organization in October 2015 with approval from the CFO and VP Operations to begin a pilot project to implement Value Streaming, Box Scores and Performance Measure Linkage concepts at one of our remote facilities.

We are happy to share our progress on this project, and hopefully how it continues to expand between now and August (the month of the summit).  We can share our strategy, which so far has been to start small, prove our concept over time and begin to show how these small initial changes can logically lead us to not only lean and effective accounting and financial reporting, but more importantly be a true partner in moving our organization from one with individual lean processes to one that is truly lean from start to finish.

This is obviously very much a work in progress, and we have many hurdles to overcome, however I believe we have started in the right way and we are optimistic that if we are committed and consistent we will make great headway in the months and years to come.

Learning Objectives:

In this session you will learn…

  • how lean accounting actually fulfills the objectives of both lean operations and effective financial reporting.
  • how one company approached getting started with value stream management
  • what has worked and what has not worked so far for us in the journey to becoming a lean organization
  • the importance of spending the time to work through organizational performance measure linkage for the development of value stream box score effectiveness

About the Facilitator:

Tim Benshoof began at Wonderful Pistachios and Almonds, Formally Paramount Farms Inc. working at their nut processing facility in 1995 as a financial analyst where he became a passionate cost accountant and developed an understanding of the importance of relating financial reporting to physical activities on the shop floor.  Over time his responsibilities grew into the typical operations finance and accounting functions such as payroll, AP and sales and property tax compliance.

In 2002 Tim became corporate controller and spent most of his time and energy on audits, bank compliance, consolidated corporate reporting and execution of holding company tax strategies.

Between 2008 and 2014 Tim was responsible for various affiliated international startup organizations in places such as India, China, Brazil, Mexico, Korea, Belgium and France to name a few.  In addition to typical accounting compliance and financial reporting, Tim was responsible for execution of tax, transfer pricing and logistics initiatives related to each country.

In 2015 Tim became VP of Finance and Strategy for Wonderful Pistachios and Almonds, where his desire to make financial reporting more relatable and actionable led him to lean accounting and value stream management.