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Pascal Dennis

Pascal Dennis: Develop a shared language for improvement

By Pascal Dennis, - Last updated: vendredi, juin 28, 2013 - Save & Share - Leave a comment

Aligning across disparate silos might be our biggest challenge.

As you suggest, Joel, sustaining Lean in a single plant isn’t enough.

Decisions made upstream & downstream can quickly erode the factory’s gains.

For example, a chaotic scheduling process will hobble even the strongest
factory, as will, expensive, hard-to-build designs.

How to avoid this fate?

Here are a few thoughts (from “The Remedy — Bringing Lean Out of the
Factory”, by yours truly):

1. Develop a home-grown management system based on, say TPS, but tailored
for your industry & culture.

(Please do not simply copy TPS — it might not fit.) Develop, thereby, a
shared language of improvement.

Emphasize the fundamentals, e.g., The Four Rules & Four Capabilities (tip of
the hat to Steve Spear) etc.

2. Teach upstream & downstream silos your shared language, in accord with
each silo’s mental models. (I am assuming here, that the factories have
been practicing for some time & are ahead.)

3. Understand each silo’s mental models. Identify hot spots & develop plans
to deepen & extend them.

In particular, seek to embed the following concept in all silos. “We’re all
part of the factory.”

4. Stabilize core processes through continuous problem solving. Focus
improvement using Strategy Deployment.

5. Once the organization has basic stability, and a shared system & language
of improvement, zoom out to the macro value stream — from “dirt to shelf”.

6. Focus breakthroughs according to True North.

7. Practice, practice, practice.

Piece of proverbial cake, no?

Best regards,


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