An organization's Lean Transformation occurs in several major steps. The activities that are contained in these steps are:
1. Organizational Assessment/Baseline
Any improvement/transformation starts with understanding where the organization is currently at—the baseline. This activity which consists of both a company employee survey and follow up one-on-one interviews, allows us to determine the baseline for the following three critical elements of a Lean Transformation:
- The Leadership Team’s readiness to change, support change, and participate in a Lean Implementation. The Transformation starts here.
- The current level of associate empowerment in the organization. To become a World Class Enterprise, everyone in the organization must be involved and participating.
- A review and comparison of the organization's current goals versus Lean's ability to eliminate waste and improve the organization's processes.
A written report is submitted to the organization with the baseline results and a summary of recommendations.
2. Management training in the Lean Concepts, Lean Planning and Lean Culture.
Based on the knowledge learned in the survey and follow up interviews, a training program is developed for the Leadership Team and management staff. Since Lean Implementation failures in organizations are always a result of management issues, these sessions always includes a review of the book, How to Prevent Lean Implementation Failures—10 Reasons Why Failures Occur.
3. Development of a LPO (Lean Promotion Office)
Longer term, the organization must "own" their Lean activities; they cannot be owned by some group of consultants. This means developing in-house Lean experts from associates already in the organization (going outside the organization is a distant second choice). Candidates for these positions should have these basic characteristics (no recruiting or talking someone into this job):
4. Train the organization's associates in the Lean Concepts and Lean Tools.
- A passion for Lean
- Good with people, excellent communicator
- No baggage (respected by everyone in the organization)
Everyone in the organization should receive an initial 4-hour Lean Overview. While many organization's balk at this because of the cost and difficulty, these same organizations are not measuring the cost of not training these associates in terms of rumors, gossip, bad feelings, and resentment. It is extremely important to get everyone on the same page at the start of this culture changing activity.
5. Policy Deployment/Company Goal Deployment
This 10 step, four-day management session integrates the organization's goals with Lean and then plans for the deployment of this "system" throughout the organization. The ten steps are:
- Mission, Vision, and behavioral expectations
- Organization's goals (Operating Income, Cash Flow, Revenue, ROIC, Safety, etc.)
- Brainstorm opportunities to achieve goals
- Scope, value, and prioritize opportunities
- Rate and validate if opportunities will achieve company goals with available resources
- Conduct a reality check
- Cascade company goals into operational metrics & develop "Bowling" chart
- Develop Lean Implementation plan
- Problem solving, error proofing, and counter measures
- Deployment follow up--How to conduct monthly business reviews
6. Begin Value Stream and Kaizen event activities as identified in the Deployment Plan
Conduct "roll out" activities for the plan that management developed, making sure all the metrics are visual.
7. Follow-up, review, and adjust on a continuing basis.
- Conducting monthly business reviews
- Adjusting your plan as markets and customer requirements change
- Making the Policy Deployment activity part of how the organization does business