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Pascal Dennis

Pascal Dennis: How do Lean practitioners connect with the CEO?

By Pascal Dennis, - Last updated: Tuesday, June 1, 2010 - Save & Share - Leave a comment

Building on Orrie’s point, connecting with CEO means understanding upstream & downstream of the factory.

Marketing, Design, Engineering, Order Fulfillment, Customer Service & the like.

The CEO’s gemba, and Value Streams, comprise all of these.

How often do lean practitioners go see them?

It’s hard work, admittedly, to go see such gembas — understand what we’re seeing.   But if we don’t, we’ll suboptimize & CEO’s will tune us out — (rightly).

A few small examples:

In Marketing, Brand management would greatly benefit from the clarity & simplicity of Lean thinking.

Marketing execs, for example, have found Strategy Deployment to be invaluable in aligning Design activity with emerging portfolio gaps.

Moreover, Lean fundamentals like STW, visual management and problem solving effectively strengthen core marketing processes — so you can play chess, as opposed to “pushing wood”.

Similarly, the principles of Lean Design would greatly benefit the pharmaceutical industry, where knowledge waste and its effect on design lead times is a life & death issue.
Mental models in these tend to be the same as those in the factory — before Lean.

On the plus side, people here tend to be smart, reflective & take quickly to Lean thinking.

So how do we do deepen their thinking?

Mike Rother’s kata concept is a key to transforming thinking and behavior.

Martial arts are widely practiced nowadays.  Kata are more likely to be accepted now.

The sensei’s job includes defining, practicing & teaching the most important katas

The gemba is a dojo, after all.

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