JP Horizons has grown on our reputation of providing tools that help the people within an organization create excitement, elevate performance and energize a culture. When the Ariens Company approached us with the desire to take the Lean principles that had revolutionized their organization and share them with the Green Industry, the JP Horizons team became very excited. It was a promising idea to bring Lean to service providers who likely were not viewing their processes in the way that a Lean manufacturing company might be.
An important first step was Jim Paluch accepting Arien's invitation to begin to study Lean at work in their organization. Together with the Lean experts from Ariens and the input from various other companies from around the country, Jim began noting several key concepts that would become the foundation for the Working Smarter Training Challenge. As the program began to take shape, the JP Horizons team realized that their previously successful Training Challenge format would be a great fit for the Lean concepts that the various service industries could put to great use. Lean promotes a culture of continuous improvement and introspective observation and the previous Training Challenges had provided hundreds of companies with the tools to build the habit of consistent, structured training on a weekly basis. The program was beginning to come to life.
With excellent content in place and a format that fit perfectly into the principles being presented, JP Horizons recognized one more opportunity in further chasing our vision of providing training solutions through an even blend of personal touch and technology. The final step in the development process was creating a web based index of training materials complimented by a JP Horizons support staff to further strengthen the program. These pieces took shape in the form of 52 lesson plans that provided the framework for each weekly session, a supplemental weekly audio clip with coaching from Jim Paluch, and an assigned JP Horizons Counselor and Coach who would oversee each participant's progress.
In September 2006, 36 of JP Horizons' closest clients became the Working Smarter Training Challenge pioneers. 35 of those 36 companies trained for 52 straight weeks and now serve as pillars in the Working Smarter Community. Since then 100s of companies have begun to adapt a Lean culture through the Working Smarter Training Challenge and the Working Smarter community has become a powerful resource in its own right. Today the program continues to impact start up companies with 5 employees on up to very large organizations with teams of over 1000 employees. The original value added vision of JP Horizons and Ariens, giving way to the Working Smarter Training Challenge, is being lived out in 100s of companies now around the world. The Working Smarter Community is driving out waste in their processes, developing their people, and providing more value to those they serve.