Wednesday, December 26, 2007

How do I convince my leaders and companies to practice lean ?

We find it hard to distinguish "technical" issues from people issues. Indeed the two cannot be separated. And so the real question that matters is this; what does it take for lean to become part of the company's culture? The answer is ; a critical mass of people who both think lean and act lean. Regardless of how much has been published about the topic, thinking lean is not that obvious. Most people who observe their operations conclude that while they might understand this lean concept very well, it hust does not apply to their particular circumstance. They need help in seeing the connection.
One of the most powerful insights from Womack and Jones is that lean is not simply a toolbox, but a total perspective. In other words, you must trust people to solve their problems, regardless of the way the problem has been defined. A plant manager for example, typically defines a problem as, hit your numbers, keep the factory loaded, and avoid too much union or vendor problems. This effectively forces him to stay in his office, manage by the numbers, run large batches, and so on. A lean approach redefines the problem completely. His new goals would be ; produce only what has been consumed ( ordered ), never by pass a problem or let an operator face a problem alone and continuously improve all processes. This has dramatic implications for the work of the same plant manager. The only way to solve problems in this lean perspective is to spend most of his/her time on the shop floor trying to understand what goes on, and challenging teams to be more precise and improve their operation.

" So the first real difficulty with lean deals with both technical and people challenges. The change begins by framing the problem, which one recognizes in the factory from a lean perspective."

You can read , Jhon Shook and Mike Rother's book " Learning to See " , refer to genchi genbutsu ( go and see ) .

( Article is Taken from Lean Enterprise Institute )