Building Lean Beyond Manufacturing
© 2018 Jean Cunningham Consulting. All Right Reserved.
A haphazard approach to Lean waste reduction can work, and work well in the near term. But, a Lean strategic plan with multi-year goals will aim you towards a sustainable Lean Enterprise efficiently.
Lean application for continuous improvement is exploding worldwide today. There are many new consultants with a variety of backgrounds. Most of the 1980's quality efforts are infamous for getting dummied down with one size fits all solutions and becoming useless. Luckily today, there is a lot of great Lean literature. Do your upfront reading and research, and check consultant references.
Lean coaching of executives and managers enables evolving Lean Leaders to explore deep questions, get quick experienced-based answers, and to throw around ideas that might apply to issues today, tomorrow, or the next five years.
A question randomly raised in a classroom setting or a kaizen event can not get the attention that might be warranted because there's an agenda, timeframe and many other attendees. But in a 1-on-1 coaching setting, you can dig into answers to any degree you want. The most in-depth coaching occurs in a room with a white board and focused time. But, coaching also includes email and quick phone conversations.
Afterall, Lean is not just a program. Ultimately, it is a work way of life for you and members of your company. An engaged management team married with a Lean-centric workforce, will drive your productivity, innovation, customer relationships, and quality.
To create and sustain the Lean Enterprise, there must be an integrated and focused plan based on lean principles with goals in key areas such as growth, quality, and organization development. When company executives have directly participated in planning sessions using lean methods, they will more likely have a personal commitment and buy-in going forward.
Typically after traditional financial and current state review, the output of a SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threats) assessment is analyzed. Working with the executive leadership, goals are created to address the findings and a plan is created detailing initiatives to meet the goals.
Reorganization into value streams is often a result for companies that have not already done so. Timely gemba walks for C-suite and upper management are usually instituted. Cross-functional Lean improvement events with all employees directly participating (over the course of a year) is also a common result of Lean-centric planning.
The Lean tools chosen depends on the type of and state of your business. At a minimum, the long-term plan should eventually implement coaching, gemba walks, kaizen events, value stream mapping, Managing for Daily Improvement, visual boards, SQDC and KPIs, and troubleshooting with the PDCA cycle.
"Lean Business Management" and "The Lean Office" are interchangeable terms referring to Lean efforts and functions outside of production. We prefer Lean Business Management since we think it better suggests an effort involving the entire company.
“There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all.”
— Peter Drucker, management
consultant, educator, author
It's there in many tiny unseen bits constantly eating away at your bottom line. See it. Get rid of it. Redevelop all the processes of your company into a Lean framework.
To sustain and promote your Lean Journey long term, you will need internal Lean Leaders. You can hire Lean experts from outside, but they won't know your company or be familiar to your culture. Instead, contract Lean experts who are committed to leading your Lean events while training and coaching your employees and specifically your future Lean Leaders. Then, thank them and wish them on their way when your internal team is ready.
Create a Lean mind-set in all employees through participation in cross-function Lean events. The long-term result is a Lean waste-elimination environment that is self-sustaining.
Finance, IT, and HR threads permeate throughout organizations affecting everyone. Yet, they are often the last to join a company's Lean Journey. What? These functions should adopt Lean early on, participate in Lean events in other areas, and partner with production to emulate and champion the benefits of the Lean Journey.
Long term action plan for Lean integration, VSM
Site visit,, assessment, SWOT analysis, goals, roadmap, financial reviews
Executive, functional team, Sensei support
Planning, facilitation, execution & follow-up
Lean basics, expansion of knowledge, and advanced. Public or In-house, customized, simulations, 1-3 days
Introductory, customized, generate understanding, value, and interest
Realign these functions as partners with your Lean Journey
Lean principles, concepts, and tools can be universally applied throughout any company. To pigeon hole Lean in manufacturing, or the operating room, or the call center, other operations environment severely limits your company's continuous improvement efforts.
This is understood by those with both a thorough understanding of Lean and a wide ranging knowledge of how businesses are managed. While the application of Lean is still evolving (and to a degree always will be), there is enough evidence from long-term Lean companies like Danaher, Scania. Boeing, etc. that Lean techniques can be used throughout your business from the C-suite to the maintenance shack.
Given the wide-ranging application of Lean, your Lean Leader must possess a distinct out-of-the-box attitude with a strong creative flair. Every event will present hidden opportunities that need to be recognized, articulated, and acted upon.
When you focus on a Lean Business Management strategy to drive waste reduction and continuous improvement, your bottom line, your customer happiness, and a feeling of job ownership by your employees will grow and keep growing.
Our services will enable you to build a sustainable Lean Enterprise. JCC goes beyond well-established Lean Manufacturing implementation to offer a full range of Lean Business Management services.