Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Everyone Does Lean Every Day


What if a few people weren't carrying the continuous improvement load?  You know. The Lean Leader. The Lean Department. The Continuous Improvement Team.  The Supervisors. What if it was everyone? 

We all know the goal is to get to FLOW. That is the condition where a customer says they want some, and the order moves throughout the organization without stopping. The 8 wastes are what prevents us from reaching this utopia. The lean tools help us "see" the wastes, and then we do kaizan (continuous improvement, not special "events") to remove them. Small, continuous, never ending, every shift, every day.

What if the responsibility to make processes faster rested with all of the people who actually did the work? Part of Toyota's "respect for people" is a responsibility to help people improve their jobs. This is easily accomplished using A3, with the additional benefit of the responsibility of teaching others not only what we've learned, but demonstrating the thinking behind it.

Like the hokey pokey, EVERYONE can do A3. The lean leader must understand the degree of difficulty, and put people in a position where they will succeed. Experienced people do hard problems. Less experienced do easier ones. But everyone participates.

Some A3s take seconds worth of waste away, others take minutes, hours, days or even weeks from a process. The key is to incentivize everyone to participate. Then, you are on your way to becoming a true LEArNing Organization.   

Circle your calender! P4 Lean Strategy will be offering a hands-on, 1 day workshop in beautiful Connecticut called "Coaching Lean". This coming Fall on Thursday, October 10. I promise you will need a nap afterward.

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