Lean Frontiers: Are they differences in getting middle management on board from getting executive management support?
Are there differences in getting middle management from executive management on board for 1) developing the lean enterprise and 2) direct engagement on their part? What are the differences, if any?
Posted on May 9, 2015
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Orry Fiume

Orry Fiume: The CEO must remove all barriers to lean, and some barriers are people. If one person must leave the company, do so with respect

By Orry Fiume, - Last updated: Friday, August 1, 2014
The problem that you cite is a common one. Below is an excerpt from an article that I wrote for the Journal for Organizational Excellence a few years ago. The at the beginning of the article explains that Lean is a Strategy, not a manufacturing tactic or cost reduction program. This excerpt is the part of the article that discusses things the CEO must do to increase the likelihood of a successful transformation: Mandate Lean. Perhaps the most important Lean “intervention” by Wiremold’s CEO was to make it clear that opting out of the Lean strategy was not a choice ...

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Orry Fiume

Orry Fiume: Look at families of metrics – any single metric can be dangerous

By Orry Fiume, - Last updated: Sunday, January 27, 2013
Great story Sammy and it is the perfect illustration as to why the use of any single metric can be dangerous.  That is why at Wiremold I always looked at "families" of metrics.  To me the most powerful "family" of metrics is Customer Service (i.e. on time shipment), Inventory Turns and Productivity.  If all three are simultaneously improving then you have to be doing a lot of things right.  In Sammy's example, where someone produced more than the customer required, productivity might increase but inventory turns would get worse so you would know ...

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Orry Fiume

Orry Fiume: Get field sales people to participate in shop floor kaizens!

By Orry Fiume, - Last updated: Sunday, November 25, 2012
I agree with the observation that the Lean movement has failed to recognize the importance of the sales team in capitalizing on Lean as a growth engine.  And I believe that the answer goes back to when we in the western world first started to become aware of what the "Japan, Inc" (AKAToyota) was doing.  It first manifested itself as "Just In Time" and we interpreted that as "just in time inventory management".  Later we recognized that JIT was part of something larger and we called that the "Toyota Production System".  But we ...

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Orry Fiume

Orry Fiume: Rather than cost accounting, look out for cash improvement

By Orry Fiume, - Last updated: Tuesday, January 18, 2011
This is a question that has been asked in every Lean Accounting workshop that I have conducted over the past 10 years. Probably the single biggest reason why we can’t see the gains in the Profit Statement is because most companies still use full absorption standard cost accounting.  In this system any deviation from standard is treated as a variance. As we implement Lean we satisfy some of our current demand from existing inventories, resulting in improving inventory turns…which is a good thing.  However, since our people are not producing product, by design, that shows up in the financial statements as ...

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Orry Fiume

Orry Fiume: Lean is a Business Strategy

By Orry Fiume, - Last updated: Tuesday, June 1, 2010
The way we approached it at Wiremold was to realize that what we call Lean is not an improvement program, not a manufacturing tactic, not a cost reduction tool, but is a strategy.  The purpose of any strategy (lean or otherwise) is to createsustainable competitive advantage. Lean does that by allowing an organization to differentiate itself in the market place through operational excellence.  We realized that if we could reduce the lead time in the market for giving quotes, delivering product, introducing new products, etc, so that we were substantially better than our competition (90%+), we could achieve a competitive ...

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Orry Fiume

Orry Fiume: lean as a long-term strategy

By Orry Fiume, - Last updated: Sunday, December 20, 2009
The primary reason why managers think lean is a program to reduce costs is because over the past 20 or so years, companies have been hearing about its various implementations (JIT, etc.) in the context of “eliminating waste”. There is an implicit, if not explicit, understanding that eliminating waste equates to eliminating costs (i.e., cost cutting). However, at The Wiremold Company we understood that the real reason for adopting lean was to create sustainable competitive advantage...and that is strategic. If a company cannot differentiate itself from its competitors, the only thing it can do is compete on the basis ...

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