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Lean Tip #1561 - Engage the Full Team to Find Improvement Opportunities
Continuous improvement in a facility is almost never going to be made by a single person. This is why you need to have the entire team involved. This starts with the CEO and leadership team and goes all the way to the front line employees. By creating a teamwork environment where everyone is working together to ensure ongoing improvement you will be much more successful in the long run.
Even when employees propose an unrealistic idea it should still be seen as a positive step. Taking all ideas seriously and trying to find ways to implement them if practical can allow employees to have the confidence in the management team that they need to want to bring new ideas up to the team.
Lean Tip #1562 - Recognize Successes
When a change is made that results in improvement in the facility it should always be recognized. This recognition could be something as simple as a thank you from the department manager or as large as corporate recognition with a bonus or other reward. To the extent possible, all recognition of improvements made should be done as publically as possible to help motivate others to work towards improvements.
If someone has an idea that doesn’t work out as planned, it can still be a good idea to recognize that even though it didn’t work out, it was still a good thing that they made the attempt. As the saying goes, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Even when ideas are unsuccessful it is still a learning opportunity and it may trigger ideas about the next great improvement in the facility. Never punish people for making an attempt at improving the facility.
Lean Tip #1563 - Know Your Processes
You can’t make improvements on something if you don’t really know what is going on with it. This is why you should have a clear understanding of everything that is happening in the facility. A great strategy for this is to employ value stream mapping. This will help you pinpoint where all the value for your products is added so that you can eliminate any waste that is involved.
Keeping your value stream maps updated and accurate is important. Every time a change is made to an area, for example, make sure you know how it is impacting the value add to that area. This will ensure you are always evaluating an accurate portrayal of your facility so you can make the needed improvements on an ongoing basis.
Lean Tip #1654 – Discard Conventional Fixed Ideas
Part of problem solving is thinking “outside of the box.” Encourage fresh perspectives and ingenuity in your team in order to develop innovative ways to forward Lean manufacturing without changing what is already efficient and successful. With such a rapidly evolving climate in manufacturing, sometimes conventional thought is what leads to the problem in the first place!
Lean Tip #1565 - Don’t Just Talk About it, Do it!
Once you have a Lean strategy in place, put it into fast and thorough action. Naturally, implementation is what ultimately yields results and improvement. The last think you want is to devise and formulate a Lean campaign that then sits on the shelf and collects dust. Run with your Lean plans as soon as you have everything nailed down.
Lean Tip #1566 - Harness the PDCA Strategy
One of the key concepts used in Kaizen is the “Plan-Do-Check-Act” strategy. This is a quality model that can be used when implementing any type of improvement in the facility. As you might expect, the PDCA strategy is a cycle of ongoing improvement that should never end. The steps are as follows:
Plan – This step is where you identify an area where improvement is possible and make an initial strategy on what chance should be made to realize the desired improvements.
Do – Implement the change, but only on a small scale. This may mean having one department make the change in some situations or for larger corporations, having one facility make the update. During this step it is also very important to be gathering as much data regarding the change so it can be properly evaluated.
Check – Review the results of the change including the data that was collected. Looking to see if they had the desired impact or not is critical to know whether you should move forward with rolling the change out to other areas.
Act – IF the data in the check step points to a success, it is time to push the change out on a wider scale. Once the change has been successfully implemented you will go back to the plan step to look for further improvement opportunities. If the data from the check step shows that the change did not work as planned, you go directly to the plan step to either start from scratch or attempt to make the needed adjustments to get the desired results.
Lean Tip #1567 - Think Small
Many companies today are only looking for the, “BIG WINS” when it comes to improvements. While big wins are always nice, they really aren’t going to be able to happen very often. A company that identifies small areas of improvement and implements them frequently is going to make much more progress over time than one that ignores the small things and only focuses on bigger issues.
Lean Tip #1568 - Empower Employees
Good managers are an invaluable part of having a facility that engages in continuous improvement. This is because good managers know that it is often going to be the employees who come up with the next great improvement idea. Employees perform their jobs all day everyday so it is no surprise that they will be the ones to find problems and hopefully the solutions to them.
Empowering employees to take steps toward improvement can be very helpful. Having a process by which they go through the PDCA cycle with as little interference from management as possible can be very helpful. Of course, for some changes manager involvement and approval will be necessary, but putting as few obstacles in the way as possible will result in much more improvement.
Lean Tip #1569 - Concentrate on Bad Processes, Not People
By concentrating on the processes and building continuous improvement, you will have the culture change that you are looking for. Also, correct mistakes immediately. Don’t wait for the next shift, the weekend or maintenance to do it.
Lean Tip #1570 - Create Short-term Goals to Keep Momentum High.
Documenting processes can be a laborious exercise, from holding meetings with different stakeholders, collecting process information, drawing process maps, creating process documentation to obtaining signoffs. To keep morale and momentum high, identify short-term wins and milestones to keep team members from lagging behind or worse still, burning out.
Lean Tip #1571 – Set Goals for Lean Manufacturing
In order to get people motivated, they must value the goals set for Lean manufacturing. These goals must be challenging, yet obtainable for your employees. Further, always ask for feedback on these goals, as well as progress toward target attainment. Feedback should always contain measureable facts and figures.
Lean Tip #1572 - Set Realistic Target Dates For Goals
People, by nature, are goal-oriented and want to see that their actions are producing positive results. But if you’re not being realistic with your target goal dates, you are setting yourself up for failure from the beginning. Set small goals and reward yourself and your employees for each milestone accomplished.
Lean Tip #1573 - Get (and Stay) Organized
Staying organized—and keeping your tools and equipment where they are easily accessible—will accelerate positive changes in your operations. Not only will it increase efficiency and reduce costs, but it will also help build support for subsequent phases of Lean.
Lean Tip #1574 - Show Results, Not Action Items
It’s important that you post real results on your Lean board, not things that you’re going to do. You must be able to point out your successes if you are ever going to convince others that Lean really works.
Lean Tip #1575 - Never Give Up
Whenever thinking about Kaizen continuous improvement you need to recognize that the ‘continuous’ part of the strategy is extremely important. This is a strategy that should be implemented as soon as possible and then continued indefinitely into the future. As soon as one improvement is made, it is time to start looking at what the next improvement opportunity will be.
It is also important to remember that there will be failures along the way. Some ideas will be tried and found to not produce the results that are needed. When this happens make sure you and your team don’t get discouraged or give up. Instead, start the process of finding and implementing improvements over and you’ll soon achieve the results you were hoping for.