Friday, January 23, 2009

Why does Lean "Implementation" fail with most companies?

It has been my experience with companies that are trying to implement lean or change, is that one of the main reasons their "lean initiatives" fail is that TOP management feels its a "program" for the workers to try, and not necessarily a requirement at their level. Some management feel they may be exempt from the change because of their experience, time in grade, or an earned title within the company. This is a common belief and a major stumbling block for long term sustainability in a company trying to change its business practices.

When a company attempts to create a positive "culture"; lean thinking should be practiced by all levels (team member to the plant president). One of the keys to a successful transition is to ensure a company has "buy-in" from your team members doing the work, and that the company explains the "why" along with the "what".

By doing this the change it creates a "value-added'ness" (a Tracey word) to the team members doing the work and they are more apt to understand the bigger picture (company business plan) than not. It's easy for anyone to tell someone what to do, but explaining "why" it's important is often left aside. The "why" should be related to the Company's Key Performance Indicators (KPI's) i.e. Quality, Productivity, Safety, and Cost. I tend to call this the "Line of Sight". When a team member has a line of sight to what the company is trying to accomplish, then they have a better understanding of what is value-added and non-value added work (waste).
Till next post...
Tracey Richardson