Knowlton Project Support

LEAN – how to get started and then sustain the journey?

“There are three kinds of leaders…Those that tell you what to do…Those that allow you to do what you want…and Lean leaders that come down to the work place and help you figure it out.” (John Shook). For me this quote highlights really well the critical importance of ‘Lean Leadership’.This is all well and good, but how can leaders develop or strengthen their Lean knowledge?

Lean benchmarking (Sample Report) provides a focus for continuous improvement activities, delivering real bottom line savings. With benchmarking an organisation can compare itself with others in a similar industry or sector, then work on customer focused improvements to improve quality, cost and delivery performance.

Publications such as Lean Thinking, The Machine That Changed The World (James Womack and Daniel Jones) and Learning to See (Mike Rother and John Shook) provide a good grounding and are recognised as essential reading for those serious about Lean.

However a leader decides to get the get the ‘Lean Knowledge’ it is important that they have a true belief in Lean as a powerful business strategy – not just a trendy initiative.

Here is a much simplified step by step process aimed to help leaders prepare a route map for their Lean journey

STEP 1

Identify a change agent – This must be a leader who will take personal responsibility for the Lean transformation.

STEP 2

Get the Lean knowledge – It’s important to draw from someone who has had practical experience implementing Lean. The internal change agents must master Lean thinking to the point where it becomes second nature.

STEP 3

Find and publicise a crisis – few if any businesses will take the necessary steps to adopt Lean thinking across the board unless they are facing a crisis.

STEP 4

Map the value streams – start with the current state of how material and information flows now, then drawing a Leaner future state of how they should flow and creating an implementation plan with timetable.

STEP 5

Practice Kaizen – begin as soon as possible with an important and visible activity such as a rapid improvement workshop or Kaizen Blitz.

STEP 6

Develop a Lean enterprise – implement Lean techniques as part of a system, not as isolated programs. As soon as Lean momentum is established, expand the scope. Link improvements in the value streams and move beyond the shop floor to office processes.

What is your experience of Lean, what has worked well…and not so well for you?

Leave a Reply

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

IMPROVEMENT TOOLS

CATEGORIES

ARCHIVES

SUBSCRIBE TO THIS BLOG

SUBSCRIBE TO NEWSLETTER

Signup to our newsletter with your email.