Have you been planning to go lean for a while, but haven’t quite accomplished it? As the start of a new decade, 2020 is the perfect time to make the transition. Here are five things you can do to set your organization up for success.
1. Read a book
Start the year off right by educating yourself on the lean manufacturing process and what it takes to go lean.
- For those new to the idea of lean: The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles from the World’s Greatest Manufacturer
- For those who want to learn more about the Theory of Constraints: The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement
- For leaders in charge of a lean transformation: Creating a Lean Culture, 3rd Edition
- For those who are ready to dive into tools: The Lean Six Sigma Pocket Toolbook: A Quick Reference Guide to 100 Tools for Improving Quality and Speed
2. Define your goals
What do you want to accomplish by going lean? Are you looking to improve quality, reduce waste, decrease costs? Be sure to set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-based) so you can measure your success and take corrective action if necessary.
3. Get buy-in from all stakeholders
In most organizations, lean manufacturing represents a cultural change. And you know as well as we do that some people just don’t like change. So, put on your advocate hat and get to work drumming up support at all levels of your organization. This will involve education, networking, and a good many hours. But every bit of effort you put in here will pay off big time when implementation time comes.
4. Take the time to plan your road map
Once you’ve made the decision to go all in on lean, it will be tempting to jump in head first. But, just like getting buy-in from your stakeholders, every minute you spend planning will save you time (and frustration) down the road. Plus, you need a map so you know where you’re going. For a high-level view of what a plan might look like, check out this 20-step lean manufacturing road map from industrial engineer, ASQ Six Sigma blackbelt, and master blackbelt Carl Wright.
5. Identify a few quick wins
A full lean transformation will take time — often, organizations develop their road maps as three-year plans. That’s a long time to sustain excitement about something. At the beginning of your process, try to identify a few quick wins, i.e., easy changes that will result in immediate improvements. This will help you get buy-in from any holdouts and also provide motivation for everyone to continue the process.
One warning about quick wins: don’t become focused solely on them. While it’s fun to see immediate success, a hyperfocus on quick wins will decrease your ability to achieve your long-term goals.
If your road map involves maximizing your throughput, we’re here to help. Contact us to learn how we can support you. Good luck with your lean transformation!