Client Case Study

Pharmaceutical Lean Academy Delivery

Discover how Project4 Learning Lab and our client deployed a world class Lean Academy programme.

Discover how Project4 Learning Lab and our client deployed a world class Lean Academy programme.

Our client, a large, global Pharmaceutical company has been using Lean Principles, Systems and Tools for many years to support their goal of delivering “More Medicines to More Patients, More Quickly”.

Project4 Learning Lab were invited to support them to accelerate their Operational Excellence transformation and deliver improved performance by developing and delivering a Lean Academy programme for Leaders within Operations.

The goal was simple; “To develop the confidence and competence in leaders at all levels in the organisation to commit to a Lean transformation” by providing a safe space to explore and experiment with Lean Principles, Systems, Tools and Behaviours before applying them in practice.

Using our 4-step capability transfer approach we delivered an immersive and experiential Lean Academy development programme to equip leaders to deliver operational excellence in their part of the organisation.

Since then the programme has been delivered to more than 300 leaders in 3 continents.

Proposed Programme

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Lean Leadership Academy


A 10-day training course to teach leaders Lean principles, systems, tools and behaviours and invite them to experiment with them to achieve improvements in business results within 100 days.

Our 4 Step Process

Capability Transfer

Tell Me

Explain Lean Principles, Systems, Tools, Behaviours and expected Results and how they apply in the organisation.

Exploring Lean Leadership Together

The programme consists of 10 days of training and coaching, delivered in two single week blocks four weeks apart, followed by a 100-day project delivery phase.

Each Lean Academy cohort contains 18 delegates made up of 3 teams of 6 people, consisting of a sponsor, coach, and multi-disciplinary team members. Each team comes to the Academy with an existing problem or challenge in their part of the business and apply their learning to resolve the issue.

During the programme participants are trained in the principles of a Lean Operating System, the corresponding systems and how they fit together whilst exploring the role of a leader in delivering excellence through practising the 6 essential habits of a Lean leader.

Show Me

Provide a visible, tangible and immersive demonstration of what it looks and feels like to work in a world-class Lean organisation (in a safe environment).

Seeing and Feeling Lean

The programme takes place in a purpose-built Lean Academy facility that provides a physical manifestation of what it looks and feels like to work in a world-class Lean organisation.

Participants take part in Daily Stand Up meetings and make small improvements to the standards in the Academy every day.

Their knowledge is supplemented by participation in three rounds of a Show Flow simulation and a cooking challenge involving systems like Standard Work, Workplace Organisation and Process Confirmation before consuming the product of their process!

Show Flow is an immersive, experiential and sometimes fun team game to demonstrate how it feels when there is a lack of flow in a business and the effect of making specific changes.

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Let Me

Participants put their learning into practice by applying the Lean Principles, Systems, Tools and Behaviours for real in the business.


Participants practice “go-look-see” activities to explore how the principles are actually implemented in different parts of the business. They document their observations and recommendations and present their findings to the whole cohort within one hour of finishing their “Gemba walk”.

Team Challenge

Each team refines the problem statement for their project and develops Value Stream or Process Maps together based on available process data. They identify problems or barriers to flow and prioritise those ones that they want to tackle, creating a 100-day plan to implement and evaluate their changes.

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Coach Me

Support the participants as they navigate through their change journey and celebrate the progress that they have made together.

Framework for Coaching

Each team receives 3 coaching sessions between Week 1 and Week 2 of the training and a further 3 coaching sessions during the 100 days of their project implementation.

Participants “graduate” when they have successfully completed a Panel Review where they present their learning and the difference that they have made in the business to a group of senior leaders and stakeholders.


So far the programme has been deployed in the UK, Sweden and the USA and has achieved significant results from the first 330 participants who have completed it. We measure the efficacy of the Lean Academy offering using the Kirkpatrick Evaluation Methodology.

Significant Improvement in Learning Outcomes

The Lean Academy program has demonstrated a remarkable impact on participant knowledge levels, as evidenced by an average increase of 113% in quiz scores. This metric is based on a comparative analysis of quiz results obtained before and after participants completed the program.

113% Average increase in knowledge

Notable Increase in Lean Leadership Behaviours

A statistically significant increase in the frequency of participants displaying specific leadership behaviours after training as evaluated by their peers.

12.5% Increase in Lean Behaviours

Exceptional Return on Investment

Achieved over 100 days, this remarkable 30:1 Return on Investment underscores the Lean Academy's effectiveness in driving substantial economic benefits through focused improvement projects.

30:1 ROI



Achieved Net Promoter Score of 75

I learned that I shouldn’t be afraid to experiment with ideas and changes. All standards can be challenged and improved. I significantly improved my understanding of the lean systems and tools and I can now clearly see how I can use them to improve my business area.