Lean Basics

PrintLogin to download pdfStruggling to improve? [KI]

Something that struck me the other day was how many sites have had Lean Initiative-it is over the years. By this i mean that they’ve tried to implement various of lean/quality/OEE activities, some internally, some with consultants but for some reason they’ve struggled to improve.

I’m sure we all recognise the symptoms – branded literature up on the walls from past consultant-supported activity, semi-filled in paperwork, practices in place that exist due to habit rather than the value that they add, a weariness from the folks on the factory floor when it comes to ‘another funny acronym’.

I know things are bad when we talk to an operator about “quick changeovers” and they tell me they know all about that “SMED stuff”…..as they start a 6 hour changeover. Or if every front line manager I talk to has 9-5 meetings every day, or when I walk a line and see more than 1 noticeboard…and it’s out of date.

Here’s something that i have come to believe – the Lean toolkit contains some great tools for reducing waste and improving OEE and there still comes a point in my opinion where “if you can’t change the people, change the people”.

Far too often i see implementations  that are attempted from a very genuine desire to improve yet with poor people-management support. Quite often in sites that are in this place there are fantastic performance management tools available and they’re not being used.

When we look at the sites that we know get the most sustainable performance one thing they all have in common is that there is a robust performance management system in place and being implemented in full on a daily basis.

If you’re introducing any sort of change process (lean, an OEE drive, a quality drive) here are my thoughts on how to be successful:

1. Make it personal – people have to care. Make sure they have an emotional reason for doing this…make sure YOU have an emotional reason for doing this.

2. You can’t build a strong house on a weak foundation – get the basics right first; ensure that you have a people performance management system in place AND WORKING!

3. If you have the wrong person in the wrong role then you’re not helping them or yourself…they’re probably miserable. Use your tools to help them find a role where they can be happy and productive. This happened to me early in my corporate career and i look back with huge gratitude to the director who did this with me in such an open and supportive manner.

4. “Aces in Places”: Make your best people responsible for creating change and get them to coach your rising stars

5. Ensure that your implementation team have precise objectives for this implementation and that they are linked to personal performance objectives

6. Carry out regular documented reviews to coach on performance and provide guidance/focus

7. Follow up on all actions that come from the reviews

8. Hold people to account for implementing the change: Reward for success and use your performance management tools if the project is floundering

As ever – delighted to welcome your feedback as these are simply my ideas post a 2 hour workout on Monday evening!

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