Sustaining “Lean” results is a critical challenge for many organizations. Although Lean knowledge and tools are important to implementation and results, they are not sufficient to ensure sustainability. Many organizations, hungry for quick fixes, focus heavily on tools and achieve short term results, but no long term impact.
Tools and Methods do not sustain results
“The attraction of tools is that they can be employed at many points within an organization, often by staff improvement teams … it’s understandable that lean tools came to the foreground – 5S, setup reduction, the five whys … value-stream maps, kanban, and kaizen … But just as a carpenter needs a vision of what to build in order to get the full benefit of a hammer, we need a clear vision of our organizational objectives and better management methods before we pick up our lean tools.” —Jim Womack, “The Challenge of Lean Transformation“, BPTrends, January 2007
Lean is a way of thinking.
It is about each person in the organization developing a group of thinking patterns to strive to make scientific working a daily habit. It is about every person using the scientific method in their daily work to develop solutions to improve their process, from the shop floor worker to the top managers. Lean thinking focused on the process of how solutions are developed which results in sustainability.
Remember the Chinese proverb “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”.
Traditional Thinking: Focus On Solutions
Lean Thinking: Focus on How Solutions are Developed
Identify Solutions, Assign Actions
Develop Capacity in People to to Develop Solutions
Coach and practice a common way of developing solutions (Lean tools and methods)
Manage Implementation of Solutions
Establish a teachable pattern of thinking and developing solutions
Periodically Check Results
Evaluate and update coaching and methods – Plan, do, check, act
Teachers say a student must practice something at least 17 times to learn and become a habit. Wouldn’t it be great if we didn’t have to practice?
Although habits can be hard to change, humans have the ability to change habits, through deliberate practice. At first the practice uses our conscious mind and is slow and difficult. But, after many repetitions, the habits becomes part of our subconscious mind and becomes fast and easy. Think about the following habits, and when you first learned them, from a teacher or coach, through hours and hours of deliberate practice.
Addition and subtraction, Multiplication tables, spelling, touch typing
Riding a bike, driving a car, flying a plane
Martial arts, golfing, tennis, sports
Playing video games – Halo, Call of Duty, Wii, Kinect
Current research supports the importance of deliberate practice to learn new thinking habits.
“Toyota Kata”, by Mike Rother, bestselling coauthor of “Learning to See”
For Continuous Improvement to be effective and sustainable, it requires a systems approach involving the entire organization. Management should guide the organization in four fundamental areas to ensure success:
Purpose – maximizing customer value
Process – continually improving speed and defects for factory and office
People – involving people in improving the process, providing knowledge, and tools
Sustainable culture – encouraging change, communicating success, and results
We’re interested in hearing about you and your organization’s Continuous Improvement results, and the effectiveness of the Methods and Tools you use. Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HEADLINE The survey definitively shows that product innovation leads to more growth, while “grow your own workforce” strategies will be needed to fill the major labor shortages hampering small manufacturer growth. Emerging technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, and digital manufacturing are beginning to enhance innovation and productivity, but still have significant room for adoption amongst Ohio’s small manufacturing businesses. ABOUT THE SURVEY Under the direction of the Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership (Ohio MEP), MAGNET: The Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network conducted a thorough survey of Ohio’s manufacturing base. Contributing approximately 20% of Ohio’s jobs (and driving in some regions up to 50% of Ohio’s economy), and generating a disproportionate amount of export revenues and Gross Regional Product, manufacturing is critical to Ohio. Greater than 95% of Ohio’s manufacturers are small (under 500 employees), and these manufacturers need to remain competitive both nationally and internationally to ensure our economy’s health. Ohio’s Development Services Agency and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which runs the MEP, recognizes the importance of this sector and fuels MAGNET and the Ohio MEP program to directly serve and support innovation, efficiency, and growth in small and medium manufacturers. What manufacturers need
How Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Can Help Keep Our Engineers Safe and Our Manufacturing Strong Recall how difficult it was to put together complex LEGO creations when you were a child or helping a child. Now, picture assembling a fighter plane from a room full of parts. Even highly trained engineers can benefit from technology to help improve consistency and quality. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are making near-perfect assembly a possibility in the manufacturing space. By wearing AR glasses that use cameras, depth sensors and motion sensors to overlay images onto the real working environment, engineers and factory workers can visualize the exact bolts, parts, part numbers and instructions on how to assemble a particular component correctly. Lockheed Martin began using AR goggles and improved F-35 assembly time by 30 percent, in addition to increasing accuracy to 96 percent. In order to remain competitive, businesses should consider the ways VR and AR can improve efficiency and supply chain productivity. According to a recent BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research report, AR platforms can provide companies up to 25 percent in cost savings on installation of equipment. Here are four ways VR/AR is disrupting the mid-market manufacturing space:
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