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Sento Consultants


« ... The Sento IQ tool developed by Pierre Leblanc is one of the best diagnostic tools and organizational benchmarks I’ve ever used... »

Mario Grenier
General Manager

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Toyota model

Our primary mission consists of bringing organizations onto the path of rapid improvements in productivity and sustainability of results. In guiding them towards this goal, we use the full range of the world-class TOYOTA WAY business model. To maintain our impartiality, we use the term Lean IQ® instead of Toyota Way. If Lean represents one side of the moon, Lean IQ®, which is more comprehensive, represents both sides.

The top-to-bottom application of this model allows us to continuously strengthen organizations’ results by obtaining increasingly better measures of performance indicators. Successful implementation requires a total commitment by management and employees.

The Lean IQ® business model is made up of four major pillars and 14 management principles.


PILLAR #1: Long-term philosophy

  • Management decisions should always reflect a long-term philosophy, even if short-term financial objectives might be adversely affected.

PILLAR #2: Good processes lead to good results

  • Process flows should be organized to identify any problems.
  • Use a “demand pull system” to avoid overproduction.
  • Level out the workload ( heijunka) .
  • Create a problem-solving culture.
  • Standardize continuous improvement tasks and foster employee accountability.
  • Use visual controls.
  • Use reliable and proven technologies.

Develop your leaders and outstanding people

  • Train responsible leaders.
  • Develop outstanding teams.
  • Respect suppliers’ and partners’ networks.

Continuous improvement: 5 whys and gemba!
(where value-added is created).

  • Get a first-hand look at the situation (gemba) to obtain a clearer understanding of any problems.
  • Set aside the necessary time to make decisions and implement them immediately.
  • Be a learning organization thanks to systematic reflection and continuous improvements.


Toyota Way implementation steps

1. Measure your company’s Industrial Quotient® or IQ®

Before your company embarks on the Lean IQ® journey, we strongly recommend that you carry out a “check-up” using our IQ® evaluation tool. Including audits of the 14 TOYOTA WAY management principles and three surveys (clients, employees and suppliers). IQ® delivers a wide array of benefits:

  • Calculate your company’s positioning in relation to world-class management best practices.
  • Evaluate the likelihood that your company is the dominant player in your market over the long term.
  • Inform your employees, clients and suppliers of your company’s alignment with Lean IQ®.
  • The audit and survey results may come as a big surprise to some observers and may promote your partners’ commitment to your Lean Way journey.
  • Since the IQ® measures all aspects of the Lean IQ®, not just the Lean technical component, the results could eliminate certain patterns that are hard to switch, particularly the fact that Lean is often viewed as a single goal to be reached, whereas in fact there may be multiple goals.

2. Establish your business cause

Establishing your business cause should be the starting point of your Lean IQ® journey. This is where the Lean pathways stop and the comprehensive Lean IQ ® approach begins. While Lean often only represents a “single” corporate goal to be reached (“We are six sigma and we’re aiming for Lean”), with the Lean IQ ®, this goal must be validated by adopting a business cause that will challenge the company top-down. There is a fundamental difference between presenting a Lean orphan commitment as opposed to presenting an ambitious and comprehensive business project requiring the adoption of the full range of Lean IQ® tools and management principles. Who would ever go to the hardware store to buy specialized tools if they didn’t have an actual project to carry out?

The genesis of the Lean approach also demonstrates that the Toyota or Lean Production System originally stemmed from a critical situation faced by Toyota when it had no cash flow, although it had no shortage of creativity to forge an approach that the entire planet is now trying to imitate.

3. Roll out your business cause within your organization

Another key characteristic in differentiating between Lean IQ® and Lean lies in how your company rolls out its business cause for all of its organizational partners. At Toyota, this step is carried out using the Hoshin concept (using the compass to chart the course). This top down-bottom up step begins with the company president, who calls on all levels of the organization to identify performance indicators relating to the business cause but adapted to the corresponding level. For example, if a corporate business cause consists of halving client delivery time, this goal must also mean that the operator has to reduce its implementation time by the same amount. Hoshin can be applied to all of the company’s performance indicators: costs, turnaround times, quality, workplace safety and environmental factors.

It is important to determine the time and resources that you are able to allocate to the implementation process. There is no minimum requirement, although it should come as no surprise that the more time is devoted and the more resources are available, the faster you will see results. This also enables us to evaluate the required level of support and the frequency of our visits.

During this step, your organizational chart should be reviewed to ensure that you have the right structure and key people in place to support your Lean IQ ® journey.

Once all of these resources have been assembled, a scorecard of DNA indicators (IQ®, satisfaction % on client-employee-supplier surveys, ratio of # of suggestions to # of employees, etc.) and a business scorecard (quality, costs, turnaround times, safety) will serve as roadmaps for tracking DNA gains (medium and long-term) as well as business gains (short and medium-term). These two scorecards will enable you to reach your competiveness goals and increase the likelihood that YOU will be the dominant player in your market over the long term.

4. Monitor progress and adjust the plan

The implementation process always varies from one organization to another. Every company has its own challenges and goals that require evaluation and constant adjustments to obtain better results. Based on standardized processes and performance indicators, we monitor progress and ensure that efforts are focused on key areas. Needless to say, the two crucial performance indicators on which we focus are the Industrial Quotient® (IQ®) and your company’s business cause.

5. Gradually withdraw support.

Under Toyota’s training method, once a student has mastered a task, the trainer gradually withdraws, although follow-up is provided. Our goal consists of developing your staff’s skills and abilities so you can become autonomous as quickly as possible.

This approach is reflected in how we calculate the IQ®. On a five-level evaluation scale, the fifth level indicates that the company’s rollout capability of one of the 14 Toyota Way management principles is internal as well as external (suppliers, affiliates, etc.).