With our colleagues at the Lean Enterprise Institute we at the Lean Enterprise Academy are constantly assessing how to articulate our approach to Lean Transformation. We use a house as a visual to articulate Lean Transformation and our view of what it takes. John Shook recently shared a video about this which you can watch here: http://www.lean.org/LeanPost/Posting.cfm?LeanPostId=135#.UvTSDf2KPLQ
Firstly WHAT? A lean organisation attempts to create flow of value through systematic PDCA by all team members (Purpose.) Implementing this is “situational” – the way this is achieved is not a prescriptive, one-size-fits-all solution, but instead is about taking a balanced view of Purpose, Process, People and Problem Solving.
Initially we define “Purpose.” In the roof of the house we are asking:
a) “What is the purpose of the organisation or the activity or process in question?
b) “What is the problem we are trying to solve?”
• What are the gap(s) in performance and capability?
c) “What is the organisation’s capability for change?”
• At each level – senior management, middle management and front lines and horizontally along the process, at the system level and at individual point level.
In the pillars of the house we focus on:
I. Operational improvement. “How will we improve/change the work?” (Process and People.)
• Start with the work (Process.)
• At either individual (Standard Work) or system (value stream or total enterprise) level.
II. Capability development “How will we develop the people (at all levels) to improve continuously?” (Process and People.)
• Develop kaizen mind and systematic problem-solving capability (Process and People.)
• Kaizen mind, challenging spirit – never-resting, always challenging.
• Problem-solving capability – what is a “problem” and what is your problem-solving process?
III. In the centre of the house we focus on the role of leadership and management. “What leadership behaviours and management system is required to support the transformation?”
IV. The foundations focus on the basic thinking. “What basic thinking drives this transformation?” Understanding the assumptions and mindsets that we have.
Our reflections of the transformations that we have been involved with leads us to think that all five areas (and questions around each) need to be thought through.
What about HOW? Any good sensei’s purpose should be to help the organisation develop self-sustaining capability with lean as soon as possible. To tackle each of the areas in the Lean Transformation Model:
• Ensure all lean activities are conducted to deliver/support the organisation’s “Business Purpose” – in terms of solving the customers’ problems or addressing business need. Focus on the “vital few” business issues.
• Define the scope – generally a pilot value stream – so we can practice PDCA and reflect on the experiments before spreading the learning.
• Always engage the top people on site to drive the implementation (rather than only one function) and only work with them if there is mutual respect and they demonstrate early in the process the desire to learn and implement.
• Organise the work with clear roles and responsibilities – clear project ownership.
• Don’t do lean to them – transfer knowledge and skills and teach the company how to fish, don’t fish for them.
• Establish a regular cadence for the work and reviews otherwise other things get in the way.
I hope this gives you a framework for thinking around your problem, good luck!