The purpose of my trip was to teach Ulbrinox, Inc. how to use A3 as the foundation of a lean strategy and to plant the seeds for a spirit of kaizen. A3 is about learn by doing, and transferring responsibility for process improvements and problem solving to the people most qualified....the experts, the people who actually do the work. Keep in mind that no two lean journeys are the same, there is no cookie cutter template that will make the journey less painful. Duck your head, keep moving forward....the only wrong way is to do nothing. Your lean strategy will ultimately be defined by your unique company culture. Duraflex was not Toyota! and neither is Ulbrinox.
The second innovation is a weekly meeting established by the General Manager (Cesar Medellin) with everyone who is currently leading an A3. Then, once per month, Cesar is hosting the "Lean Taco Break" with these leaders. One of the key accelerators of lean is the understanding by everyone that lean is very important to management. This cannot be delegated. You can't put out a memo or posters. Direct, regular involvement is how it is done. Managers must spend 15-20 minutes every single day asking people about their progress, and helping them through the DMAIC. Cesar understands this and is actually taking it to a whole new level. People will do what is important to management!
Dang, I wish I thought of those 2 things years ago!!