Sunday, February 19, 2012

What does Lean Success Look Like? Part 5: Chaos vs. the Patriots

The past 4 blog posts have been spent defining what the target condition looks like from a cultural standpoint when LEAN or TPS is a startegic plan and not a department or a program. This is only what my company experienced, so I'd love to hear from other LEAN Zealots what they see also. To summarize:
1. More recession proof-2008 was the best test so far for me.
2. Extremely low team member turnover
3. Sense of and language of ownership
4. Newer cars in the parking lot
5. Market disruption in some way-faster and smarter
6. Trust is demonstrated

Today, I'll touch on Chaos vs. the New England Patriots. One of the things anyone who visits your company should have is, a sense of calm. Before our journey, it was very easy to tell if we were "busy" or "slow". Busy was people running around, being heroic, waiting for raw materials, pushing orders ahead (calling customers and begging for more time), long days for everyone, and lots of the "e word" - expediting, who gets to go to the front of the line. Nerves were frayed, and people didn't always like each other 100%. (so there was time spent in meetings with two people who want to kill each other, he said, she said, etc. Complete and total non-value added activity due to stress caused by chaos caused by overburden caused by the 8 wastes). People did their job though. THAT was a problem. I do my job, and "I'm not doing that, that's not my job". Think about the commercial, "I pick things up and put them down" (See the YOU TUBE Bodybuilder Planet Fitness Commercial here).

In the target condition, team member's mindset is much more like the New England Patriots. Players like receivers Troy Brown and Julian Edelman play defense, the absolute best players run down on the kickoff team, etc. In my company, I cannot guarantee where any particular team member might be working that day. THEY decide that with their Team Leaders based on DEMAND. There are not many days over the course of the year when every value stream is slammed busy. Cross functional, willing team members are fun to be around, and are darn smart. Plus, they bolster improvement activity when they are not working their primary value stream. (it is harder to see waste when the process is yours). Near total elimination of chaos is a direct result of this change in team member mindset. In upcoming blogs, I will tell you how we did it.
Julian Edelmen is listed as a Wide Receiver on the Patriots
roster. However, as a Patriot he has stepped in on special
teams, and defense as well as the offensive side. This is similar
to what Patriot legend Troy Brown (pictured below) did to help
the team at times.


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