Monday, February 3, 2020

10 Keys for Lean Daily Management


Many companies that experience great success with lean hold kaizen workshops to rapidly implement lean tools. It’s no secret, however, that many of these companies find that the improved system quickly reverts back to its non-lean state.  The problem is that lean is a people-dependent system.  All the lean tools, such as posting standard work, require people to use them daily and if they do not understand them, or care about them, the tools will quickly decay. We need to develop people so that they want to use the tools for daily improvement.  This requires internal motivation. What we are really trying to accomplish is to develop people so they have the drive to improve toward clearly defined performance goals.  We want to make improvement a habit. There is no tool that develops people, but there is a methodology that can aid in development often referred to as shop floor management, or daily management.

The purpose of daily management is to make everyone come at a common platform, take charge and ownership of each and every aspect, for example, improving production, productivity, material availability, etc., and most important is the increasing communication.
10 Keys to Daily Management:

1.     KPIs That Matter
To take your production to the next level, you need to collect and analyze the relevant key performance indicators (KPI), or metrics.  The right metrics can help you find the sticking points or weak spots in your production line and processes, giving you the information and insights you need to continuously improve and refine your business.  KPIs allow you to monitor, analyze and optimize production processes regarding their quantity, quality as well as different cost aspects.

2.     Setting Standards
Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible, And like-wise you want to turn your expectations into clear standards through team discussions and displaying the end results. Setting standards help your lean leaders to be able to clearly display the company expectations of a task to your team. It also makes it easier for the leader to correct and adjust behavior if necessary.

3.     Visual Displays
Utilize a visual board to display its goals, targets, and performance metrics. The look and feel of the visual board should be standard across your system, with each board including the standard metrics as well as a designated space for discussion and prioritization of improvement ideas. The visual board should be located in an accessible area so that the data and metrics stay in front of everyone.

4.     Daily Huddles
Daily huddles take place at the value stream level and last for about 10 to 15 minutes. Huddles are led by the leader and are attended by all members of the value stream. Huddles take place directly in front of the visual board so that the metrics that are displayed on the board can be discussed and updated as needed.

5.     Gemba Walks
The leadership team needs to visit the actual place (Gemba walk) to ‘check things out’ and see if there are any issues that need to be addressed.  Auditing processes by visiting the floor and talking with employees.  The purpose of the Gemba Walk is to observe processes, not to evaluate the people preforming the process. Leaders then go to work on the problems and actions from the morning meeting.

6.     Problem Solving
It’s necessary to create an environment in which hiding problems is neither acceptable nor possible. The right way to work, which lean thinking advocates for, is exposing problems, effectively solving them, and asking for help and getting it whenever necessary. Problems occur constantly and more time is required to understand and solve them, the bigger their consequences.

7.     Coaching
Highlighting improvement opportunities, idea prioritization, and evaluation are not part of frontline employees’ normal work. These behaviors need ongoing encouragement and mentorship beyond the initial training. Strong, capable department leadership and visible senior leadership are crucial for encouraging, recognizing, and promoting these behaviors and accountabilities to sustain daily management.

8.     Accountability – Improvement Tracking
Daily accountability is the vehicle for interpreting the observations recorded on the visual controls, converting them into assignments for action and following up to see to it that assignments are completed. As with the other principal elements of lean management, daily accountability relies on disciplined adherence to its processes on the part of leaders.

9.     Leader Standard Work
For daily management to be successful, it is critical for leaders at all levels of the organization to be committed to the process and visibly be present at huddles. The role of these leaders at huddles is to encourage teamwork and collaboration, help remove barriers, mentor and coach frontline staff, and foster systems thinking.

10.  Everyday Communication
Leaders should regularly communicate with employees across all levels of the organization to ensure that information is disseminated and to learn about employees’ experiences, problems, and suggestions. Communication is enhanced by the leaders who remain in contact, are able to clarify, and convey information concisely and clearly. Since lean management favors an approach where managers are in regular communication with employees about their work and their process, employees should feel they are empowered to make better decisions.

The main purpose of the daily management process is the enabling of robust “Check” and “Act” activities. An organization that places daily management at the core of its management system will be capable of identifying deviation as soon as it occurs and to initiate the problem solving process right away.


Such an organization will be best placed to deal with future challenges, because it has created a solid method for dealing with uncertainty and problems, and because it has continuously engaged and developed its people (the real value creators).

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