Monday, October 3, 2011

Daily Lean Tips Edition #20

For my Facebook fans you already know about this great feature. But for those of you that are not connected to A Lean Journey on Facebook or Twitter I post daily a feature I call Lean Tips.  It is meant to be advice, things I learned from experience, and some knowledge tidbits about Lean to help you along your journey.  Another great reason to like A Lean Journey on Facebook.

Here is the next addition of tips from the Facebook page:

Lean Tip #286 - Enable Input and Choice In How Work Gets Done.

95% of people (regardless of their walk of life) want to do a good job, feel pride in what they do, have good relationships with their co-workers and feel they are contributing in a meaningful way. In other words, they are set up by their own internal nature to be a high performer.

Unfortunately in many organizations managers turn the majority of their focus toward the 5% of people who are allergic to work and then instigate rules, policies and practices (such as close supervision) to control this 5%. As you can imagine all that does is demean, annoy and demotivate the 95% who are motivated to do their best.

Provide people with a forum where they can provide their input in to how work is performed. Giving people control over how they perform the work is intensely motivating.

Lean Tip #287 - Continue Learning and Trying Out New Ideas

Use whatever access you have to education and training. You may have an internal trainer or you can seek classes from an outside consultant, a training company, or a college or university. If your company offers an educational assistance plan, use all of it.

If not, start talking with your Human Resources professionals about creating one. The ability to continuously learn is what will keep you moving in your career and through all the changes I expect we'll see in the next decade.

Lean Tip #288 - Focus on the Development of People

Most people want to learn and grow their skills at work. Encourage experimentation and taking reasonable risk to develop employee skills. Get to know them personally. Ask what motivates them. Ask what career objectives they have and are aiming to achieve. You can make their career.

Lean Tip #289 – Trust People to Do the Right Thing

Trust the intentions of people to do the right thing, make the right decision, and make choices that, while maybe not exactly what you would decide, still work. When employees receive clear expectations from their manager, they relax and trust you. They focus their energy on accomplishing, not on wondering, worrying, and second-guessing.

Lean Tip #290 – Learning is one of the most important disciplines.

In order to fully realize potential, you’ll have to add knowledge, skills, and experience. Don’t expect your people to do their best if you don’t equip them with the training they need to perform. And don’t expect your potential to spring forth in a final draft; it takes time to hone your skills and build your confidence. This could come from formal schooling, from the school of hard knocks, or from both. Either way, your education is the house your realized potential will live in.

Lean Tip #291 – Eliminate Data Silos To Make OEE a Strategic Tool.

In many cases, equipment operation information, maintenance records, and business performance data are still in separate data silos and cannot be integrated. In other cases, the silos have been partially eliminated, but processes and interfaces have not been implemented to enable collaboration and effective data sharing between manufacturing operations, maintenance, and financial management.

Lean Tip #292 – Integrate real-time data collection with the plant floor.

The importance of capturing real-time information cannot be underestimated.

Imagine coming in for the start of your shift after being home over a long three-day weekend. You need to quickly get an update of what has happened in your absence. Have there been specific problems that might recur? You might find records from the previous shift in a logbook or in hand-scrawled notes. But these notes can provide only a limited amount of data and, by their very nature, cannot capture the insights of those staffing the plant in the operator’s absence.

When data on equipment operation is collected automatically and refined by the operator, the quality and quantity of data are greatly increased.

Lean Tip #293 - Communication is the glue that binds an organization together.

Do not assume that several announcements and a note on the notice board is sufficient to get the story out. Some say to communicate seven times and seven ways but that does not mean seven months apart. Develop and implement a robust communication plan and check to see if the total target audience has received the unfiltered message. If you want to know if your message is getting out clearly why not ask the most obscure person on the night shift is he or she has the message? The day shift is easy but how about the rest of the folks?

Lean Tip #294 - Productivity comes from working smarter, not harder.

By distributing the tasks and responsibilities around, you not only become more flexible and able to respond to changes more quickly, but you involve more people in the improvement process. Productivity comes from working smarter, not harder. That is the difference between effectiveness and efficiency. You can be effective without being efficient, but, the key to productivity is to do both.

Lean Tip #295 – Help maintenance be predictive not reactive.

If Maintenance is still operating in a reactive manner, then imposing requirements where they must forecast their requirements and ordering material only when it is required may likely result in frequent "show stoppers". It might be more effective to help them wherever it is possible in organization.

Lean Tip #296 - Feedback is the breakfast of champions.

As Kenneth Blanchard author of “The One Minute Manager” said “Feedback is the breakfast of champions”, therefore we must know what we need to improve upon if we hope to succeed. We need to periodically survey our partners to get an objective view of how we are meeting the company’s needs, a sort of “Customer Satisfaction” survey that we can use to address the needs of those we work with. This is an indispensable part of a continuous improvement program. Remember if we say we’re doing our best, we won’t do any better!

Lean Tip #297 - Communication is a key element of troubleshooting.

Begin by understanding the normal operation of the application. Then understand the specific problem. Sometimes the best source for this information is the people who operate the equipment on a routine basis. Make communication with process or equipment operators part of your troubleshooting process.

Lean Tip #298 - Minimize the invasive problems of PM’s with improvements in guarding.

Modify guards to have expanded metal so the working parts can be viewed while running. Paint the expanded metal flat black instead of yellow. This will reduce glare so you can see down into the space more effectively. You can also replace solid guard fronts with clear Lexan or tempered glass allowing you to see inside while running.

Lean Tip #299 - Prioritize your work request as they enter the system.

Set up a simple matrix using categories from 10-1 for each equipment category and each work classification. For example, utilities would be a 10 in the equipment category and breakdown would be a 10 in the work class. Multiplied, they would equal 100, meaning a breakdown to this equipment takes top priority due to taking the entire plant down. If this type matrix is used, it provides an effective decision making tool on which worked takes place first, second, etc.

Lean Tip #300 - Embed Your Improvements for Lasting Change

Be sure to institutionalize change by making the measures, goals, and objects of the organization line up with the implementation strategy. Change sticks when it becomes part of the organizational culture-it becomes part of "the way we do things around here." There are two techniques for institutionalizing change. First, show people how the change has helped improve performance and competitive advantage. Helping people make the connections between their efforts and improvements requires communication. Second, the strategic leader makes sure that the next generation of top leaders personify the vision. If requirements for promotion and advancement do not change in a manner consistent with the vision, the change rarely lasts. Bad succession decisions can undermine years of hard work.


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