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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Daily Lean Tips Edition #68 (1021-1035)

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 #1021 - Know, Understand and Involve Your Customers
It’s a given that without customers you will have no business. You need to know what they want and how they want it – not just now, but in the future – to stay ahead of the game. Ask them questions such as: would they recommend your business to others without hesitation. If not, ask them what they think you need to do better.

Lean Tip #1022 - Create a Coaching Culture
Lead by example. Show that you are willing to receive and give feedback by openly asking for it.  And encourage your colleagues on the management team and your employees to do the same. This doesn’t just involve giving out feedback forms for big initiatives like new customer launches or employee events, it also means asking employees or customers for informal feedback, for instance after a particularly tricky meeting or discussion.

Lean Tip #1023 - Actively Listen…and Respond
Whether it’s a customer or an employee, whether they are saying something you want to hear, or not, make sure you actively listen. And show you are listening by asking questions to clarify and consolidate what people are telling you. Once you have listened, acknowledge and respond, quickly – otherwise customers and employees will assume that you weren’t listening in the first place.

Lean Tip #1024 - Share Knowledge Within Your Company
 If you don’t share knowledge within your company, your customers will suffer. Many managers are unaware that the team that sits right next to theirs is doing some great work that that could help the business deliver a better service to customers, or open the door to a new market.

Host regular knowledge-sharing sessions – whether virtual or real; keep your knowledge management system updated and make it interactive. Or invite individuals from totally different parts of the business to team meetings and then reciprocate. Start with some of the managers. Proactive knowledge sharing is one of the key ways to remain one step ahead of your competitors – and senior people need to make the time to lead by example.

Lean Tip #1025 – Remember The Four Main Factors in Goal Setting.
In order to get people motivated, they must: 1) Value the goal; 2) The goal must be difficult, but obtainable; 3) There must be feedback contingent upon goals; and 4) That feedback must be numerical. If you have someone acting on an A3, you will have all of these and you will build the culture change that you're looking for.

Lean Tip #1026 – Start By Defining Processes
First things first: You have to take a hard look at current processes, both how your workers go about their job and with your manufacturing equipment, and see if there is room for improvement.

Are you using machine parts that are defective? Unnecessary? Is an employee skipping important steps that only save production a minimal amount of time?

Look at every aspect of your production process and clearly define and streamline those processes.

Lean Tip #1027 - Create Repeatable Processes
If you’ve done something with absolute success before, you want to continue doing it that way. That’s why it’s important to document processes, as it provides a baseline understanding of what you do and how you do it. Following a disciplined approach to documentation promotes consistent results.

Lean Tip #1028 - Plan For Continuous Improvement
By following a system that adheres to planning, monitoring, evaluating and measuring results, you get continuous improvement in the quality of your employees, your manufacturing equipment, your processes and your products.

Lean Tip #1029 - Have A Preventative Maintenance Plan
Preventative maintenance of your manufacturing equipment is the key to avoiding downtime and big costs to replace broken machines. By implementing routine adjustments and replacing worn components, you ensure your equipment is functioning with the highest possible degree of efficiency.

All of these factors improve quality and, in terms of costs, actually save you a lot of money in the long run.

Lean Tip #1030 - Cleaning Is Inspection
Typically, in a production environment, the raw materials being turned into products leave residue on the machinery. At least once per eight-hour shift, use an air hose to clear this residue. This minimizes the opportunity for the dusty remains to work their way into the components of your equipment and cause a breakdown over time. Then, once or twice a month, pull the machines out and do a more thorough, intense cleaning.

Lean Tip #1031 - Think About How To Do It, Not Why It Can't Be Done.
I often hear, "We tried that before and it didn't work." They may have had a good idea, but the chances are that they didn't include the accountability portion. Without accountability, you will not have sustainability. Make someone accountable and avoid the "flavour of the month."

Lean Tip #1032 - Do Not Seek Perfection. Do It Right Away.
Taiichi Ohno used to regularly nag at people not to let a quality problem "escape" to the next customer. You've got to stop what you're doing, put a countermeasure on it and do it right away. You've got to fix mistakes immediately. Don't wait for the next shift to do it. Don't wait for the weekend to do it. Don't wait for maintenance to do it.

Lean Tip #1033 - Do Not Spend Money for Kaizen.
All that proves is that you have a lot of money. I don't care whether you're in manufacturing or health care, you don't have "extra" money. Toyota says that they use their wits, not their wallets, for continuous improvement.

Lean Tip #1034 - Ideas are Infinite. Execution is the Key.
This simple maxim is often overlooked as people get caught up in meetings and so on. You've got to be the change you want to see, not the change you'd like to see. It's the same as not confusing better with best. You want to move to better right away, not take forever working out what "best" looks like.

Lean Tip #1035 - Kaizen Starts With Taking a Look at the Actual Place of Work. Continuous improvement efforts must start with a trip to the gemba. The gemba might often be the factory floor, but people forget about Lean in the office, where half of the work starts out being late! It's easy to see waste on the floor, but it's harder (at first) to see waste in the office or other value streams. Going to the gemba will make it easier.

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