Baseball is Back!

Baseball is Back!

I recently enjoyed the opportunity to attend Atlanta Braves spring training games in Orlando, Florida. This is particularly exciting to me because as an accountant, my “busy season” has always prevented me from attending pre-season games. These early games are great for fans because you get to see more players in a relaxed atmosphere as they take the field. A pitcher may stay on the mound for an inning or just a few pitches. More young players get to have at-bats. It’s also a chance to knock off the dust while being away from the crowds and show what they’ve worked on in the off-season.

Offseason Training

During the regular season, the Braves will play 162 games. The manager will adjust the roster and batting order. Individual players will make adjustments to their swing or stance. But major changes and training happens in offseason. And spring training is the first chance to see those changes in action!

Every year, MLB teams make their greatest changes to improve their performance in the off-season. This past offseason, the Braves brought in two new players. (One of them is actually a returning player who began his career with the Braves and has played elsewhere for a while.) They did not, however, make significant additions to their pitching staff. My hope is that the Braves made the right changes during their offseason to make this year even better than the last one – maybe more on that in my next blog.

Just like the Braves have spring training and make major changes in the offseason, we do the same at hb&k. During our “offseason” we participate in training and learning. We also improve our internal processes. Through Lean Six Sigma, we review our processes with the goal of continually improving.

Continuous Improvement

Continuous Improvement is a basic principle of Lean Six Sigma. In essence, the idea is that you should enjoy your progress, but never become comfortable with it – instead you should always challenge yourself to improve. At hb&k, our team spends time each summer completing Lean Six Sigma reviews and to uncover what did and did not work well with internal processes during “busy season”. This extends far beyond typical accounting processes such as tax, audit, and client accounting services. We also review our billing process and even how our committees and groups function.

After completing our initial Lean review, everyone involved completes “homework” to make the agreed upon changes a reality. This can involve a wide variety of things from getting training, to developing new guidelines, updating technology, testing the new processes, and communicating with our clients.

Improving with Lean Six Sigma

Lean Six Sigma and Continuous Improvement has become an important part of the culture at hb&k. Every year, we make strides to find the absolute best way to get work done efficiently while maintaining excellent quality. Pushing ourselves to adopt better processes every year makes each busy season more enjoyable than the last. This year, we’ve seen the greatest decrease in overtime the firm has ever experienced! And of course, next year, we’re going to challenge ourselves to do even better.

Lean Six Sigma can help any company in any industry. As a Lean Six Sigma Consultant, I am available to help you achieve better results. Read this blog to learn a little more about lean and email me if you’d like to know more!


This blog was written by Earl Blackmon.  Earl is a shareholder of hb&k, a Lean Six Sigma Consultant and a super fan of the Atlanta Braves.
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