Nurturing a lean, continuous improvement culture


By Ken Johnston, Chief Human Resources Officer


I just love this Harvey MacKay quote. It highlights a humorous but legitimate example of the activities we do every day that don’t add value.

In my time at Purolator I’ve been part of a number of discussions about Purolator’s culture. The consistent input I hear from coast to coast is that we have a great culture that revolves around pride – pride in our Canadian identity and pride in providing great customer service every day. This culture gives us a competitive advantage. It is for this reason that we should continue to find ways to make our great corporate culture even better!

It is in this vein that you will hear people talk a lot about lean, continuous improvement thinking and processes as the next step in our evolution as a great company. This is not a “culture change,” but simply an addition to our strong cultural foundation. In the coming weeks, Purolator will begin its journey on becoming a continuous improvement or “lean” organization. Furthermore, our President, John Ferguson is personally championing our lean, continuous improvement activities.

Continuous improvement is one of the top corporate priorities for the future and it will be critical in supporting our long-term growth in market share, profitability and customer service excellence. This will be a methodical approach that will address the many processes that Purolator executes on a day-to-day basis in an effort to remove activities that don’t create value.

“Lean,” or continuous improvement, means creating more value while eliminating non value-added activities and processes. To be clear, lean is not about cutting costs. It is about ensuring that everything we do creates value – value for our employees (safety and engagement), value for customers (service) and value for shareholders (return on investment).

A lean organization understands customer value and focuses its key processes to continuously increase that value. The ultimate goal is to provide maximum value to the customer through a value creation process that has no waste.

Chris Henry, Director of Change Management and Continuous Improvement, will be leading a team of continuous improvement professionals and will be seeking support from those who are passionate about improving processes inside the organization. We will begin our focus on smaller but high-value continuous improvement opportunities. He would like to hear from you about your ideas, so please reach out to Chris at Be patient with us as we are just starting to uncover and build the list of opportunities to be addressed.

There is more to come from John, Chris and others on this topic, so stay tuned!

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