Lean Blog — 498: Lean Management Meets Tech: Theodo Group’s Success Story with Catherine Chabiron & Fabrice Bernhard

My guests for Episode #495 of the Lean Blog Interviews Podcast are Catherine Chabiron and Fabrice Bernhard, who are discussing her new book Learning to Scale at Theodo Group: Growing a Fast and Resilient Company.

Episode page with video, transcript, and more

Catherine Chabiron is a board member for the Institut Lean France, a member of the Lean Global Network, like the Lean Enterprise Institute.

Catherine is an established expert in Lean management with a professional journey spanning over 40 years. She has experience in a range of service and support functions, including IT, Logistics, Sales, Finance, and HR, both in France and globally.

As a Lean executive coach, her expertise in Lean thinking has been largely shaped by her experiences within the automotive industry, where she has lived and breathed the Lean philosophy. This has been further enriched by her regular visits to the Toyota supply chain in Japan, an experience that has offered her unique insights and an in-depth understanding of how a learning culture operates.

So, speaking of Theodo Group, we’re also again joined by their chief technology officer and co-founder, Fabrice Bernhard. He co-founded Theodo in Paris in 2009, which has grown on average 50% yearly for the last 8 years and generated 90M€ revenue in 2022. He is now based in London to help with the international expansion.

We delve into the broadened application of lean principles in our discussion with Fabrice Bernard and Catherine Chabiron. Bernard shares how Theodore Group implemented Lean as a strategic pillar in their operations, using it as a toolbox to create sustained growth and maintain competitive edges. They systematically addressed business challenges using TPS, Extreme Programming, and Scrum to conjure the “agile magic” of a small, integrated team at scale.

Don’t miss out on the chance to hear about cultivating a Lean culture that goes beyond strategy and tool adoption. By fostering an environment of continuous learning, teamwork, and the relentless pursuit of excellence, Theodore Group effectively established Lean as the backbone of their company’s culture. We also expound on broader societal challenges that can be addressed through Lean methodologies and the journey of A3 thinking in fostering deep understanding and collaboration. This episode takes an expansive look at Lean practices, demonstrating its adaptable, innovative, and ethically conscious nature across different industries, proving its potency in driving companies towards sustained growth.

Questions, Notes, and Highlights:

  • What are your Lean origin stories?
  • Lean as a strategy at Theodo Group?
  • How did the two of you come to work together? First met in Japan, right? What led to the book?
  • Startup vs Scale-up?
  • Six Planet Lean articles – LINK
  • Sharing Lean thinking with your CEO and other leaders?
  • How do you embody Lean?
  • A lot of virtual work now? If so what does Gemba mean?
  • What does continuous improvement mean to you? How do leaders foster a learning culture?
  • How does continuous improvement address not just the scaling challenge but societal challenges?
  • Why are the current ways of scaling a company broken?
  • Big Company Disease? Silos and process trumping customers, compliance over initiative

The podcast is sponsored by Stiles Associates, now in its 30th year of business. They are the go-to Lean recruiting firm serving the manufacturing, private equity, and healthcare industries. Learn more.

This podcast is part of the #LeanCommunicators network