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Jean Cunningham

Jean Cunningham: Training is even MORE important in the lean organization!

By Jean Cunningham, - Last updated: Tuesday, January 4, 2011 - Save & Share - Leave a comment

Training is even MORE important in the lean organization!  As we move work away from a function and toward a process, the lines currently drawn between employees begin to shift.  For an example, in one company (as in many) the credit check for new employees was done within the accounting department.  However, to reduce the time to meet customer needs who were ordering spare parts, the credit check process had many hand offs and waits leading to extended lead time.  It turned out that most of the spare part orders were of low dollar value.  So the credit checking access was moved to each spare parts clerk desktop, simple standard rules for accepting credit, and only involving accounting if a higher limit or the credit check rules failed.  This sped up the process, reduced hand-offs by clerks and freed up time in accounting.  A typical lean process improvement that was win/win/win. Was it important to train spare parts clerks in advance…no.  Was it important to train at point of use …yes!   Longer term training is really important too…..for instance in the IT organization.  When we start with understanding the role of the IT organization in the lean company, we might find that one of the core values that IT brings is as liaison between the technical software/hardware world and the process world of the lean company.  In this case, it would be fundamental for the IT team members continually engage in learning about possibilities in the quickly evolving software/hardware world.     As usual, the answer comes down to understanding customer need….both internal and external!

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