We live in variable times. Pent-up demand from the pandemic is driving sales, or is it something else, such as the departure of some of the competition? These are ideal conditions for the use of process excellence rather than capital expenditure to build capacity. It is quicker, cheaper, and more responsive.
Lean is responsive process excellence. The response is process improvement, but how do you find something to respond to? Building a Lean firm is building a culture that continually generates something worth responding to.
To get the best answer, we asked our long-term clients what they thought the most important steps towards building such a culture were and what follows is their list.
Leadership buy-in and understanding of Lean
Lean is a highly counterintuitive practice. Naturally that creates some resistance, so leadership support is critical for successful change management. Lean works best when you initiate change with a small team for a specific process that has leadership buy-in.
A system level understanding of processes and how they generate value
A specialist is comfortable improving their tools and process, but may not have an overall picture of how their work connects with customer value. Once everyone understands how they connect to customer value they realize they share the same goal and increased cooperation results.
A problem finding approach
Improvement can’t start until a problem is found and defined. Problem statement development is a skill that must be acquired and practiced. Improving the process rather than merely “getting it done,” must take priority and be supported by the right resources.
A rapid solution implementation mindset (Stop and do it now!)
Lean companies eschew meetings and conference rooms in favor of working problems when and where they occur. Then, they implement solutions rapidly. Lean companies take on problems in bite-sized portions so that employees experience implementation satisfaction in real time.
Commonsense benchmarking and goal-setting
Lean companies develop goals that are accessible, auditable and actionable, so employees can understand them, know them to be correct, and take action to realize them. This visible democratization of control data organically increases participation and ownership.
A good way to start your journey to Lean is to take on a small project and solve an actual problem. We would like to offer you a complimentary 1-day problem solving session that covers the five points listed above. In this session you will learn the essentials of Lean, how to charter a kaizen event to solve a simple process problem, and how to use Lean methodologies to radically redesign processes and eliminate problems.
Lean Six Sigma is broadly applicable at all levels from leadership to production associates and to industries ranging from manufacturing, aerospace, food and beverage, distribution, service, and construction, to healthcare, government, and IT.
It would be my privilege to meet you on Oct. 19, and I look forward to discussing Lean with you at the Innevation Center!
Learn about “Build Your Creativity, Hold Your Capital” at NCET’s Biz Café on Oct. 19 at the University of Nevada, Reno Innevation Center. NCET is a member-supported nonprofit organization that produces educational and networking events to help people explore business and technology. For tickets and more information head to www.NCETcafe.org.
Rishi Malhotra specializes in Strategy and Operational Excellence consulting. He has more than 20 years of strategic and tactical Lean, Six Sigma, and manufacturing leadership experience. His clients range from small and mid-size businesses to Fortune 500 companies. Helping organizations create a culture of Lean and Six Sigma as a catalyst for sustainable, long-term growth plans is Rishi’s specialty.