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Monday, July 25, 2016

Lean Tips Edition #98 (Tip# 1471-1485)

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 #1471 - Focus on the Rate of Production, or Takt Time.
This is a heartbeat measurement for the team. One-piece flow is ideal, but any flow is better than no flow. Pull at the demand of the customer, if possible. Then, pull the material through the process rather than push it along. This may take time. Setting up small work-in-process (WIP) or finished goods inventory (FGI) locations from which teams can pull material through production can be a good place to start. Holding areas also are known as Kanban areas, or supermarkets.

Lean Tip #1472 - Create a Model Line.
Develop a showplace within your shop where everyone can see how it should be done. Start small, but don't pick a project that has no challenges. Develop key measurements before and after the production line so that people can watch the progress of your get-lean initiative. Finally, create a future-state map that acts as your ideal value stream.

Lean Tip #1473 - Don't Wait Until All the Stars Align Before You Begin.
There is never an ideal time to start redoing your manufacturing process. There always are reasons you should wait or gather more data, but a ready-fire-aim approach is not all bad if it is applied to smaller aspects of the project.

Lean Tip #1474 - Develop the Ability to Make “Every Part Every Day”
Develop the ability to make “every part every day” (than every shift, than every hour or pallet or pitch) in fabrication processes upstream of the pacemaker process. By shortening changeover times and running smaller batches in you upstream fabrication processes, those processes will be able to respond to changing downstream needs more quickly.  In turn they will require even less inventory to be held in their supermarkets. This applies to both discrete-parts manufacturing and process industries.

An initial goal at many plants is to make at least “every part every day” for high-running part numbers.

Lean Tip #1475 - Use Kaizens to Teach and Make Rapid Changes
Use a talented and experienced facilitator who has a deep understanding of Lean tools and philosophy but keep training focused on a specific problem. This helps to keep the training relevant to real world situations and ensures that there are tangible outcomes from training activity. The kaizen might have an objective to reduce setup time, reduce waiting time, or increase workplace organization, for instance.

Lean Tip #1476 - Benchmark with other companies
Visit other companies that have successfully implemented lean to get ideas and understanding; other companies are often delighted to present their lean implementation progress. Networking is key to ensure global understanding with other companies implementing Lean.

Lean Tip #1477 - Set up a Lean Enterprise Steering Team
This team would be responsible to provide support in the planning, resourcing, implementation, and follow-up accountability for implementation. The steering team is often identical to the normal line management team. The internal resources and external consultants would provide consulting support to the team. This infrastructure would resolve inter-departmental issues.

Lean Tip #1478 - Leaders Must Thoroughly Understand, Believe In, and Live Lean
All leaders must understand the work in detail and know how to involve people. If the top is not driving the transformation, it will not happen. Then, to keep the results sustainable you must have a system for both result- based and process based performance measurement including measures for velocity of the overall business process and the individual business processes.

Lean Tip #1479 - Create a Positive Atmosphere
Be tolerant towards mistakes committed in lean environment with a supportive and learning attitude. Have patience with progress as this will be key to get results and also try to create a blame free supportive environment. Have courage to take risks at crucial stages to push things and resources to meet the plan and achieve results.

Lean Tip #1480 - Make Lean Mandatory
If a company looks at Lean transformation as a "nice to do" in spare time or as a voluntary activity, it will simply not happen. It needs to be mandatory and people need to be given the space to think about improvements they can make.

Lean Tip #1481 - Involve Employees in the Change Process.
Employees are not so much against change as they are against being changed. Any time managers are going to implement organizational change, there is always a lag between the time the change has been discussed at the management level and the time the change is going to be implemented. Managers like to play like an ostrich and believe that they are the only ones who know about the changes that are going to take place. Unfortunately, while their heads are stuck in the sand believing that no one else knows, employees are effectively undermining the future changes with negative informal communication…the company grapevine. The sooner you involve employees in the process, the better off you will be implementing the change. A formal communication channel is more effective at implementing change than a negative informal one.

Lean Tip #1482 - Ask Employees For Commitment to Change.
Once change has been announced, it is important that you personally ask for each employee’s commitment to successfully implement the change. It is also important that you assure the employee that if there are problems, you want to hear about them. If a negative employee does not tell you, they will tell other employees why the change will not work.

Lean Tip #1483 - Expand and Improve Communication to Employees.
The change process usually means that normal communication channels need to be improved. First, give employees an opportunity to give you input. Start by becoming more available and asking more questions. Get employees’ opinions and reactions to the changes. Maintain your visibility and make it clear that you are an accessible boss. More importantly, be a careful listener. Second, keep employees updated on a regular basis. Just letting your employees know that you have no new information is meaningful information to them. Strive to be specific; clear up rumors and misinformation that clutter the communication channels. Remember, it is almost impossible to over communicate.

Lean Tip #1484 – Management Should Keep a Positive Attitude.
Your attitude as a manager or supervisor will be a major factor in determining what type of climate is exhibited by your employees. Your attitude is the one thing that keeps you in control. Change can be stressful and confusing. Try to remain upbeat, positive, and enthusiastic. Foster motivation in others. During times of transition and change, try to compensate your employees for their extra effort. Write a brief note of encouragement on their paychecks; leave an affirming message on their voice mail; take them aside and tell them what a great job they are doing; listen to their comments and suggestions. Last, try to instill organizational change as a personal challenge that everyone can meet…with success!

Lean Tip #1485 - Raise Levels of Expectations.

Now more than ever, you should ask more from your employees. It is expected that more work needs to be done during the change process. While it may be most practical to expect less in terms of performance, raise your levels of expectations and theirs. During change, employees are more likely to alter their work habits, so reach for the opportunity and push them to try harder and work smarter. Require performance improvements and make the process challenging, but remember to keep goals realistic in order to eliminate frustration and failure.

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