Lean: Does it Work?? Part 2

The Focus in Part 2 will be to begin to uncover some of the “right’ ways to implement Lean and what some of the key indicators are that you should be aware of.

First, let’s alleviate the misconception, apprehension or anxiety that Lean doesn’t work.  It does work!

The caveat is that you must discover the ‘right’ or proper adaptation of the thinking and concept to  your unique situation!

Next, there is no one cookie-cutter solution that can be used to solve every situation and needs of an organization.  It is obvious, that every organization and every division in every organization has their own culture, leadership, and human dynamics which are distinctive to them.

So, in order for Lean to be effective, these nuances must be dealt with by altering the approach that is used to effectively create sustainable ongoing positive impact for the business, their clients and their staff.

Thirdly, Lean is not a tool!

Most organizations go into Lean thinking that if they learn the theory and five phases, or tools like 5S, Mistake-Proofing, flow, Six sigma etc., they just have to get everyone doing that across all the departments.  We have seen places that pick one tool and focus on it for years on end and expect to reach their potential.  It won’t work!

Lean is a cultural change that requires those tools but more importantly, it requires the leadership and staff to change the way they analyze and question their business and how they perceive their client’s needs (value).

Fourth, change won’t happen overnight – this is not a magical potion that will automatically cure what the organization have currently created and evolved into over the past years or decades.  Lean is a long term continuous journey (most say this but most still expect overnight success and then move on to the next thing).

Fifth, reading the books and being knowledgeable about the theory, tools and basics is not going to prepare you for leading a Lean implementation.

There are many more but let’s start with those as it gives you an idea of the significant foundational concepts you need to be aware of.

Once you have acknowledged the above, you can then begin to search for the proper solution.  Chances are you will try to find the expert internally first and then if you feel you don’t have the internal expert you go outside to either hire someone or find a credible consultant.

In Part 3, we will begin to at least highlight some of the red flags to be aware of when hiring a person(s) to lead the change in your organization and that you are willing to put your reputation on the line for….