“Thanks to the collaboration with Lean Consultancy Group, we were able to make really good progress.”

Hans van Leeuwen • Ministry of Defense

Work more efficiently due to fewer transfer moments. Interview with Hans van Leeuwen (director) and Nico van der Leek (section head), Human Resources Services Center.

How can we achieve the same result with fewer actions and thereby optimize the process?
That was the main question for all employees of the Human Recourses Service Center (DC HR) of the Ministry of Defense with the introduction of Lean Management in the business processes. “The reason to apply Lean in the business processes came about under my predecessor,” says Hans van Leeuwen, director of DC HR. “Our service center was looking for a method to give our core value ‘continuous improvement’ more body. Based on a thorough advice from Yacht, we came to the conclusion that the implementation of Lean could be a good solution. Yacht inventoried the possibilities with a multidisciplinary team and advised us on the shift of the organization from system-focused to process-focused work. With this outcome, Yacht approached its cooperation partner Lean Consultancy Group and Eppo Kuipers was used as project leader to guide the process owners and to make the organization fall in love with Lean “.


Eppo Kuipers supervised the implementation of Lean in the business processes. Van Leeuwen: “Kuipers teaches us what Lean is and what it can mean for our company. He ensures that we think Lean, reflects on our plans, supervises the projects and he also takes care of our employee training. He currently trains five of our employees to become Lean experts, so Lean will soon be fully integrated into our organization. In short: Kuipers was and is our great source of information in the field of Lean. “


The first step in making DC HR Lean was to merge the processes of the personnel information system and the salary system. Section head Nico van der Leek says: “The biggest change was switching from system-focus to process-focus work. To gain insight into our way of working, we did the Lean game under the guidance of Kuipers. We then charted our way of working. There came a busy picture with many control and transfer moments. We then described all the steps in the process separately, after which we always took one step away from the process, without qualitatively impairing the result. “

New situation

“We have become increasingly enthusiastic about Lean,” continues Van der Leek. “By applying Lean, a new way of working has developed. First everyone did a bit of the process. In the new situation, employees can handle a process from A to Z. Which gives more satisfaction. Of course it took some time to get used to, but bow it has been fully accepted and is supported by all employees. “

Keek op de dag

One of the new things at DC HR is the ‘Keek op de dag’. Every day, the department heads and bureau heads talk about what happened yesterday and what needs to be done today and tomorrow. Van der Leek: “We do that standing up, because then you do not stray and you focus on the goals. We got that tip from Kuipers and it seems to work. We go through all business processes and quickly identify where there will be under or overcapacity. In the skills matrix that we made at the start of the project, we examine which employee we can use where. This way we can quickly move the people we have. We have a lot of results. It is good for operational continuity and the employees are happy too. Now they have the opportunity to work in another department. They are therefore not only more flexible, but also more motivated. “

Lean expert

The process is now almost complete. The five employees who become Lean experts within DCHR will soon be able to work independently. Van Leeuwen: “We are extremely satisfied with the collaboration. The advice Yacht provided us has put us on the right track. Thanks to their cooperation with Lean Consultancy Group, we were able to make really good progress. The way of working of the Lean Consultancy Group fits well with our company and our culture. Kuipers has a lot of knowledge and knows how to communicate it well. That he teaches us to apply Lean himself is the biggest plus point. It gives us the feeling of being in control.” Van der Leek: We are going to introduce an annual check to see if we remain Lean. This way, we keep Lean alive in the company and we continue to look for opportunities to work more efficiently.