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Articles from The Business Forum Journal
THE ART OF
THE LEAN JOURNEY
Part 2 - Continuity of the Journey
is the fourth in a continuing series of Manufacturing-related articles.
We have thus far discussed my early fascination with “things that are built,
have created a fairy tale concerning Manufacturing, and provided Part 1
of the Lean Journey. This article will continue to discuss the realities
of creating a “Lean Environment” in manufacturing companies.
first article in this series was devoted to the beginning stages of the Lean
Journey, what you should do first to build the foundation for a successful
Lean program. As stated at that time, this is a never-ending journey
that will derail quickly if the right combination of activities does not take
place. This article discusses the follow-on activities that build a real
“continuous improvement” program. Several possibilities exist, and
not all are right for all companies, but some of these will be necessary for
all companies. Does that confuse you? It means that each company
is unique, and what works for one might not work for another (there is no
“cookie-cutter”, foolproof approach). Part II of the Lean Journey
will be to figure out what works best for your organization - a lot of this
will be done as the Journey proceeds. You will find that you have to be
flexible and take positive action when changes in your course are required.
in Part 1 we discussed the necessity to have a success, and then to advertise
that success, and build on it. This is also the key to Part 2 -
success breeds success - but this is also a time of great change, and, with
it, much trepidation. We do not accept change easily! By now, most
of you have heard the phrase, “Paradigm Shift”. Our paradigms often
force us to only see things in ways that fit that paradigm, so changes, new
ideas, new processes and methods do not come easily to us. It is vitally
important that the leaders of the Lean Journey, Senior Management, the Lean
Champion(s) and training instructors/implementers also are change agents,
continually motivating and empowering others to consider and accept the
necessary changes in this program!! There is a theory that unless we do
something continuously and consistently, it often becomes only another slight
detour in our lifeâ€™s journey. It does not become part of our paradigm!
enough already, I think you get the message - so how can an organization
effectively manage change, and motivate its people to continue the Lean
Journey? Even though there is no “cookie-cutter” checklist, there
are sound, proven methods that can be used to have a better chance of success.
What are these methods, you ask? See below:
you really have to remember is that the Lean effort, like any other worthwhile
endeavor, only succeeds if you are fully committed and work hard and
continuously to make it so.
are many primers out there on Lean tools, processes, etc. Two such
sources that I have found to be useful are Lean Thinking by James P. Womack
and Daniel T. Jones, and Gemba Kaizen by Masaaki Imai. There are many
others that are just as good, so you should check them out to see what best
fits your situation.
Lean Journey, Parts 1 and 2, have given you several suggested methods to
consider in beginning a Lean Enterprise Program. The basic segments
involve first commitment, then planning, then working with experts in the
training and beginning implementation phases, then continuing to take action
and building on successes, then sustaining and standardizing the gains, and
always continuing the efforts, never stopping. Along the way, it is
imperative that Lean Champions in your organization are found and placed into
this role. Every organization will be unique in some ways and alike in
some others, so you must find your own route.
rewards of these efforts are amazing. Gains of not 10% or 20%, but 50%,
100% and greater are the rule and not the exception when you truly “get
it”. Our next article will discuss metrics and benchmarking of Lean
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