Get Lean: A diet and exercise plan for your business Part One

Spring is here, and that means everyone is concerned with shaping up a little bit after a winter of Netflix and a few too many treats…Well today, Profession Concession is offering a little fitness advice that doesn’t require you to eat a salad or go for a jog (though you should totally do that too). Instead, we’re here with a series on how to get your business in shape with some methods to improve efficiency, cut waste and meet your goals. Your bottom line will thank us.

SVAM was fortunate to have recently co-hosted a training event with Johnston Memorial Hospital, where Mountain States Health Alliance employees shared their experience with A3 thinking and lean methodologies. This training provided attendees with an in-depth look into what it really means for a company to “get lean”. Spoiler alert: No one has to lose their job! We thought our readers might like to learn some of the highlights from the training, so here’s your introduction, we could call it Lean 101, Part One of our Get Lean series. In part one, we talk about the cold hard truth. You probably have some waste in your business. Waste can be challenging to pinpoint at its source, and easy to ignore because making a change requires upsetting the status quo. But alas, business isn’t for the faint of heart, and to succeed, we must be willing to adapt and grow. We’ve taken the 8 major sources of waste from the MSHA training, and expanded upon each to help you identify the problem so that you can begin making the needed changes for your company.

How you’re wasting: Identifying your efficiency issues is the first step in making changes. 

Transport: Is getting an item or people from one place to another causing delays and backup at your company? Time to think about your transportation system!

Inventory-Too much? Not enough? Striking the balance is critical for your bottom line.

Motion-Are people in your company taking too many unneccessary steps in a day? This might seem minor, but consider this…If every person in your 100 employee organization is taking 1,000 extra steps per day (this is about .5 mile, or 10 minutes a day) 10*100=1000 minutes / 60 is over 16 hours per day , more than 116 per week, or 5840 hours per year…yeah, that’s a lot of lost time. And as we all know, time=money.

(P)eople-Now this doesn’t mean you should fire all of your employees. Efficiently allocated labor is the absolute driving force of a company’s success! The point is, where are your employees not meeting their full potential? A lot of times, this has nothing to do with the quality of your workforce-most people want a fulfilling and busy job that they can feel good about accomplishing at the end of the day. It often boils down to this, confusion about responsibilities, inefficient systems and miss-assigning of duties based on employee strengths and weaknesses.

Waiting-Is anyone in your company ever sitting or standing around waiting for someone else to finish their work so that they can do their own duties? This leads to a waste spiral! Really, waiting can increase every waste factor on this list!

Over production-Too much stuff made.

Over processing-Too much stuff being done.

Defects-To ere is human, but too many mistakes or defects can wreak havoc on productivity.

Now that we’ve spread a bunch of doom an gloom on you, and you’re thinking “wowza, I see a lot of these wastes in my company”, don’t get too down and out. The whole point of this series is to improve, not discourage. Stay tuned for Part Two for more information on the changes you can make to minimize waste and send your productivity soaring. Until then, take a good look at your operations and try to identify your problem areas.



No laughing matter: Surviving an Active Shooter

We  like to keep things informative here at Profession Concession, and we also like to keep things lighthearted, but today’s subject is no laughing matter. It is however, something that we all unfortunately must think about and prepare for. How can we, as employers, employees, co-workers and human beings, prepare ourselves to survive an active shooter event if one were to occur in our place of work ? SVAM was fortunate to recently have had the opportunity to co-host an Active Shooter Training with Utility Trailer in Glade Spring Virginia. The training was led by Major Ashbrook and Sheriff Newman of the Washington County Sheriff’s Department, and today, we’d like to share a little bit of what we learned at this sobering training.

What can your business do to prepare for an active shooter event? These events are always seemingly unexpected, rapid (lasting between 8 and 12 minutes), and unlike anything else a community can experience.

  1. Have a plan. Every company should have a specific plan in place for if there is an active shooter or other dangerous person on the property. The plan should include, how to alert people, emergency contact information for law enforcement and medical facilities,  where people will go/evacuation procedure in the event of an active shooter. Preparation should also include awareness of all entrances and exits and the proper securing of these entryways against potential threats. The safety committee at your place of work should develop a full course of action that is appropriate for your company size, location and environment. There is no one-size-fits-all strategy.
  2.  Rehearse your emergency plan. An emergency plan is no good unless you know how to use it. Your rehearsal should prepare employees to recognize the sounds of gunshots, evacuate and hide, call 911, react when law enforcement arrives, practice the survival mindset. 

What can you do if there is an active shooter event at your work?

  1. Run. If there is a clear path and you are not blocked in by the shooter, running is ideal. Move quickly and leave all personal items behind. Once you make the decision to run, do not stop or freeze. Evacuate the premises and call 911 if possible.
  2. Hide. If running is not an option, you can hide in the predetermined spots from your preparation or in any spot that provides well-hidden cover from the shooter. Remember cover/protection is preferable to concealment, which only removes you from the shooters direct site. Avoid places that restrict your movement or corner you. Call 911 if possible.
  3. Fight. The most dangerous, but sometimes necessary option. When fighting, your primary goal is to stop the shooter by causing physical delay or harm. Weapons are the clear preference in this circumstance, whether that is a concealed weapon or makeshift weapons from items such as fire extinguishers and other heavy objects. If you decide to fight, don’t second-guess yourself, commit to your goal of incapacitating the shooter.

How can we prevent active shooter events?

  1. Observe and report suspicious behaviors or changes in employees. Take notice if someone seems unusually hostile, withdrawn or otherwise different than usual. Take action if threats are made or hinted at. If in doubt, contact law enforcement to warn them of your fears.
  2. Cultivate a work culture of openness and communication. This will help to identify potential threats because employees will be willing to communicate with management regarding fears and concerns.


There is no surefire way to prevent an active shooter event from occurring. Unfortunately, the circumstances of our society are such that we must do all we can to prepare for these events and educate ourselves on how to respond if one of these tragedies should strike near us. This information has the power to save lives.




Washington County Sheriff’s Department.

Sheriff Fred Newman

Major D. Byron Ashbrook, II


Department of Homeland Security

Active Shooter : How to Respond