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Monday, February 12, 2024

5 Ways to Accelerate Your Lean Roadmap

Many organizations have begun the journey to make their businesses lean. Some have reported early successes while others have struggled or fallen into the rut entitled "flavor of the month." As is usually the case with this kind of organization change, implementation precedes understanding. What follows are missteps, rework, confusion, organizational angst, and the aforementioned "flavor of the month" criticism.

As you continue your Lean Journey here are 5 ways to accelerate your roadmap:

Start With Lean Training for Everyone

The key to implementing any new idea or concept is training. It must be top down training so that everyone is on the same page. The more understanding of what lean manufacturing is all about, why you are implementing it and the expected benefits from it, the more likely you are to get buy-in.

It is very important that everyone in the company become committed to lean culture. In order to make the culture successful, managers and employees need to be aware of waste within the company and be prepared to attack and eliminate it. Making sure that the employees are empowered to do this, not just pushing the job off on someone else, is imperative in the proper function of lean culture.

Ensuring everyone is on the same page will help to avoid conflict. At the same time, it is important to ensure people have the space in which to think about what improvements they think need making.

Use Daily Management to Engage Employee in the Gemba

Lean organizations make use of Daily Management systems, a structured process to focus employee’s actions to continuously improve their day-to-day work. Daily Management empowers employees to identify potential process concerns, recommend potential solutions, and learn by implementing process changes. Daily Management, if done right, can be a critical tool in any organization’s toolbox to engage frontline staff in problem-solving and to deliver customer value.

Lean Daily Management includes three components: (1) alignment of goals and effort; (2) visual data management, daily huddles, and problem-solving; and (3) leader standard work.

Focus on Problem Solving

One of the most common mistakes that companies make when embarking on a Lean transformation is trying to do too much at once. These “boil-the-ocean” initiatives are long, costly and often end up stalling under the weight of their own ambition.

The PDCA cycle (Plan-Do-Check-Act) is a simple and effective framework for lean problem-solving. It guides your employees through four steps: defining the problem and its scope, implementing a solution and testing its results, evaluating the outcome and identifying any gaps, and standardizing the solution and making further adjustments.

Empower Improvement with Kaizen

Kaizen events are a powerful improvement tool because people are empowered to come up with new ideas to help the business. Employees are isolated from their day-to-day responsibilities and allowed to concentrate all their creativity and time on problem-solving and improvement.

The purpose of kaizen is to involve everyone, everywhere, every day in making simple improvements. These small improvements add up overtime and result in an extraordinary and never-ending transformation of processes. Companies which use Kaizens have found they generate energy among those who work in the area being improved, and produce immediate gains in productivity and quality.

Seek Expert Help from Lean Sensei

A Lean coach or sensei provides the necessary guidance, support, and expertise to help organizations navigate their journey successfully. They guide teams in adapting to new ways of working and help them overcome any challenges encountered in the process based on their extensive experience and knowledge of Lean. They help organizations identify inefficiencies in their processes and implement effective solutions.

The challenge with lean is that, despite its attraction to many executives who want to cut costs and increase productivity, a lean process doesn’t happen overnight. There are plenty of obstacles to overcome.

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