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Monday, February 3, 2014

Daily Lean Tips Edition #59 (871-885)

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 #871 – To Improve Your Business Map Your Processes
You cannot improve what you do not understand. You must be able to understand and map existing processes to define the to-be processes (the vision). Bear in mind that processes feed into one another. Processes flow into one another; one process could flow into a bigger process with the end of that process being the beginning of another. It’s important to note that in some cases, there's a difference between the way a process is documented and what happens in reality. Besides this, existing documents may be outdated and not reflect the changes that have been made to processes over time.

Lean Tip #872 - Identify the Bottlenecks of Your Processes
Identify those points where delays are introduced into the process. You can do this by interviewing process participants, observing the process in action or simulating the process to identify the points at which improvements can be made. Evaluate each step in the process by taking a value-oriented approach. Bottlenecks could arise from unnecessary sign-offs/approvals and unsmooth hand-offs. Though it’s important to maintain quality, the analyst still needs to question the value of checks and reviews.

Lean Tip #873 - Know What the Customers Want. 
You can’t make your company effective if you haven’t communicated with the actual consumers of your products.  Some customers may want something specific, and others may want something else. Regardless of who wants what, the customers’ main wants usually include quality and quick turnaround.

Lean Tip #874 – Quality Improvement is about Customer Satisfaction
Quality improvement requires you to make a difference in order to satisfy the customers.  You have to keep abreast of how things are going in your niche or market.  Don’t hesitate to make changes and adjustments when they are needed.  Without the customers, you would not have a job and the stability for the company would be at risk.

Lean Tip #875 - Simplicity Matters In Process Improvement
If your process isn’t simple, it’s going to be very expensive, not very usable, and probably not sustainable – put simply, it will fail. Whether evaluating new processes, or determining which ones to re-engineer or discard, make simplicity a key consideration. Remember this – usability drives adoptability, and simplicity is the main determinant of usability.

Lean Tip #876 - Don’t Think Product – Think Outcome
I know this will offend some, but process improvement is not a new software program or application. While toolsets can enhance process or can become a by-product of the process, they do not in and of themselves constitute process improvement. Don’t get caught in the trap of perpetual spending or development as a solution. Recognize if you’re caught in this trap it’s a symptom of bad process not a reflection of good process.

Lean Tip #877 - Turn Employees into Problem Solvers and Improvement Specialists.
The most important aspect of lean is to involve employees in developing lean processes. Many times companies create a culture in which the employees don't make the decisions, management does. Then when problems occur, employees are unable to diagnose or solve problems without involving a supervisor. lean reverses that by revolving around employees and looking to them as the improvement specialists.

Lean Tip #878 – Gather Some Good Knowledge When Problem Solving
Information about your problem can often decrease that uncertain anxiety and fear we face when we are challenged with something. Knowledge wisps away the clouds of fear around a problem. And we often find that the problem might not be as bad as we thought.

Lean Tip #879 - Let Go of the Need to be Right.
Open your mind to a solution that may work and try it out instead of just making snap judgments based on little information and experience. The need to be right can make you disregard solutions that are just what you need for far too long.

Lean Tip #880 - Find the Lesson or Opportunity Within the Problem.
There is almost always a good side of a problem. Perhaps it alerts us to a great way to improve our business. Or teaches us how our lives perhaps aren’t as bad as we thought. Finding this more positive part of the problem reduces its negative emotional impact and you may even start to see the situation as a great opportunity for you. When you are faced with a problem ask yourself: How can I use this? What is the good thing about this? What can I learn from this? What hidden opportunity can I find within this problem?

Lean Tip #881 – Communicate Often About Common Visions and Goals.
Working together toward a shared vision helps keep teams strong. Take care of your team by regularly reminding group members what your common goals and purpose are.

Lean Tip #882 - Take Care of Your Team, Pitch In and Lend a Hand.
Help out during crunch times or when people need assistance or support with a task or project. Provide direction as needed. Encourage group members to reach out and help one another. Make sure people have the tools, information, and resources they need to get the job done. Help individuals and the group keep priorities in focus. Intercede as necessary to remove organizational obstacles to the team’s progress.

Lean Tip #883 - Create a Team Culture Where “We” and “Us” are the Norm.
Modern work cultures have become “I” instead of “we” oriented. When executives incorporate the word “we” into their vocabulary, employees at all levels feel included and a part of the organization’s success.

Lean Tip #884 - Share Individual and Team Successes With All Employees
Go ahead, recognize and acknowledge employees! It’s good for employee morale and loyalty. Make employees feel like they “belong.” Belonging is the foundation that launches high levels of engagement and productivity.” When employees are engaged they are loyal. And, people step forward to accomplish extraordinary things through collaboration and team work.

Lean Tip #885 - Transparency Must Be Maintained and Healthy Interaction Must Be Promoted Among Team Members.

The communication must be effective, crystal clear and precise so that every team member gets a common picture. Effective communication also nullifies misunderstandings and confusions. Confusions lead to conflicts and individuals waste their time and energy in fighting rather than working.

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1 comment:

  1. "Do it right the first time" or "fail fast - fail cheap - fail often" - what is the best approach? I think this depends on the size of the knowledge gap (customer needs vs. own abilities), there is no simple answer.