Sunday, January 4, 2015

2017 Lean Strategy: Hit the Ground Running


The brand new sparkling year is always a time of renewed optimism and energy. Hopefully, we have been able to spend at least some of the holiday season rejoicing in our good fortune and giving thanks to those who have helped us accomplish them. 

The challenge we face is the fact that what got us here probably won't get us to where we want to go. As leaders, how exactly do we want the new year to be remembered? "2017?!?!That was the year that we.........."

If you already employ lean or TPS as a business strategy, now is the time to gain agreement on 2 goals for the year.

First, what will be our "policy deployment"? What will be the one thing that we will be "measurably" better at (beyond a shadow of a doubt) on 12/31/17'than we are on 1/1/17? Imagine a visitor asking people at random "what's important around here?"  and getting the exact same answer from anyone they asked? Can 2017 be the year we became a learning organization? Can it be the year we became known for unmatched customer service? Is it the year of incredible innovation? Whatever it is, simply apply the four essential components of policy deployment: urgency (the why), learning, metrics and kaizan (to move the metrics), and engage every single person in your company in all four components.

The second goal is much simpler. How much improvement activity will we be doing this year? For those of you who use A3 to do continuous continuous improvement, how many A3s will you complete by the end of the year. As a rule of thumb, if you are just getting started with A3, ask every single person in your company to simply do 2 A3s sometime between now and the end of the year. Is it too much to ask for 2 executable process improvement suggestions over approximately 240 work days? If you have 100 employees in your company set the A3 goal at 200, and make the goal visible by keeping track of everyone's progress (listing everyone whether they have done an improvement or not.

At the end of the year, between 1/3 and 1/2 of the completed improvements should reflect EXACTLY what your policy deployment strategy is. If your strategy is to be the best customer service organization in your market, then nearly half of the improvements should be toward delighting (not satisfying) your customers!

I wish you the best of everything in 2017....and let's make sure we have some fun!!!!

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