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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: You set your objectives on what you are trying to accomplish

By Jeff Liker, - Last updated: Wednesday, October 20, 2010 - Save & Share - Leave a comment

The simple answer is based on the business needs.  A more complex answer is it depends.  Depends on what you ask?  What you are trying to accomplish.  That may sound tautological–you set your objectives based on your objectives.  Let me give an example.  When we started working with one furniture retailer it soon became clear that the CEO would judge lean based on ROI pure and simple.  Show him the money and we continue… or else game over.  In this case we worked on an operation that repaired damaged furniture and by doubling productivity saved the equivalent of $300,000 per year and we got to keep going.  Another similar furniture retailer in another state wanted to lay the groundwork for culture change to engage team members in continuous improvement.  In that case we went slower and selected a range of projects to produce quick wins that made jobs easier and also increased customer satisfaction by reducing lead times.  These were two entirely different situations and entirely different objectives.  Now in an advanced lean concept like Toyota they use Hoshin Kanri to set objectives which is based on a 10 year vision which gets translated to a five year plan and then an annual plan.  Hoshin objectives are then set to align actions to add up to the corporate objectives in cost, quality, safety, morale, and customer satisfaction. The hoshin will vary across the company and from year to year so the objectives are a moving target.  But a handful of companies in the world have developed the maturity to have a real hoshin kanri system to support long-range objectives.  So for the rest of us… we figure it out as we go.

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