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
Archives by Tag 'Jean'
Jean Cunningham

Jean Cunningham: More than before and less than it will be in the future

By Jean Cunningham, - Last updated: Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Percentage of value add for a process should be more than before and less than it will be in the future. Continuously improving toward the customer need. Constantly creating an environment where all people in the process are thinking and experimenting on ways to improve. Celebrating the improvements you have made and anticipating improvements to come. Ensuring the use of the trilogy of business management tools: Strategic Deployment, cross functional process improvement, and managing for daily improvement.
Jean Cunningham

Jean Cunningham: It’s respectful to the entire workforce to ensure standards of performance are maintained

By Jean Cunningham, - Last updated: Friday, August 1, 2014
Performance management is important in every company. When there is standard work it is even easier to coach on performance. One outcome of performance management is improved performance. One is termination. It is respectful to the entire workforce to ensure standards of performance are maintained.
Jean Cunningham

Jean Cunningham: It must feel lonely at the top!

By Jean Cunningham, - Last updated: Sunday, July 6, 2014
It must feel lonely at the top. If we approach this as a lean problem, then let’s work on that gap. He feels alone and wants other people related to the organization to be with him. Let’s consider many supporters as the desired state. Let’s consider getting such great results that the question of "how" never arises as the desired state. Using 5 Why’s, we can begin to attack both questions: 1) why does he not have more supporters of the methodologies (that he believes in) and 2) why is the performance not great enough to stand ...

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Jean Cunningham

Jean Cunningham: Is it part of your strategic value? Is it something you do weekly/daily? Does it require specialist knowledge?

By Jean Cunningham, - Last updated: Tuesday, November 12, 2013
In the office functions I feel the first test of outsourcing is three questions: is it part of your strategic value? ( keep it inside) Is it something you do daily/weekly and links with other processes?( keep it inside) Does it require highly technical knowledge and changing laws ( consider outsourcing) So on a practical level, payroll processing is often outsourced. It is not often strategic, does not tie to many other processes, and has state by state as well as ERISA laws. On the other hand, material procurement is highly strategic, tightly linked to other processes and it ...

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Jean Cunningham

Jean Cunningham: Start Local!

By Jean Cunningham, - Last updated: Friday, June 28, 2013
Start local! There will be plenty of waste and opportunity for improvement without the burden of tying it all together. The core change for the culture is totally unrelated to full global value stream integration. Learn how to listen to the voice of the customer. Learn how to identify the work that you do that your customers so not care about (waste). Learn how to use defects as way to see what can be improved. Learn how to make work visual. Learn how to work across functional line as you focus on processes. Learn how to evaluate demand. This will take a couple of ...

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Jean Cunningham

Jean Cunningham: Include finance/accounting in the lean product development process

By Jean Cunningham, - Last updated: Monday, February 18, 2013
If you have read about Lantech in the Womack and Jones, Lean Thinking, then you know that our application of lean principles in the product development processes yielded huge reductions in lead time.  And what better way to enhance margins than to have the first product to the market! However, the recommendation I have as you launch LPD, is to include Finance/Accounting as an essential team member.  There are two reasons: first, the finance person can help gather the financial information needed for target costing and evaluate cost impact of different design alternatives. ...

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Jean Cunningham

Jean Cunningham: 4 criteria for good metrics

By Jean Cunningham, - Last updated: Sunday, January 27, 2013
What great input from the other bloggers on this question.  And here is what I have learned: If you ask 3 people how a metric is calculated and you get 3 answers, it isn't a good metric. The metric needs to be simple to understand and to measure, because it's purpose is to drive problem solving. If all your metrics are outcome metrics (sales per person, inventory turns, shipments per hour) then add some process metrics. (how often was a sales order entered with incomplete information, number of times with unplanned downtime on the line, orders not entered within 2 ...

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Jean Cunningham

Jean Cunningham: The culture transformation through personal engagement is the only chance of success for a “lean transformation”

By Jean Cunningham, - Last updated: Saturday, January 5, 2013
The role of the KPO is to launch the lean understanding in the organization by piloting and proving concepts and then later supporting the pull from the rest of the leadership for support/mentoring. Ultimately the KPO is the source of all future leaders in the organization as part of the organizational development efforts. I strongly support the idea of all the KPO team members sourced from within the company and using external coaches to develop this team. Why? Because the internal people know the business best and the lean concepts are not difficult to learn from external coaches. Additionally, this dramatically reduces the cost of the lean start-up ...

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Jean Cunningham

Jean Cunningham: If we focus on eliminating the wastes associated with the selling process first, we can capture the imagination that lean and sales are great partners!

By Jean Cunningham, - Last updated: Monday, November 26, 2012
Lean failing to capture the imagination of the sales team…what a question!  Our sales team loved the fast lead times. Our sales team loved the improved quality. Our sales team loved rapid pace of new product offerings. We loved to leverage the web for selling.  But just as every other department outside of manufacturing, the improvement cycle was not grasped without some tangible structured introduction of the power of eliminating waste in the process.  The sales team was certainly interested in activities that would make the sales job easier:    getting marketing ...

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Jean Cunningham

Jean Cunningham: Walk through the process

By Jean Cunningham, - Last updated: Sunday, June 24, 2012
The first activity I would suggest is just walking a quote through until the order is completed, invoiced and recorded. Talk to the people about what their steps are.  Ask what they spend their time doing.  Ask how long it takes to do the main purpose (the value add) of the task, and then how long to do the task overall.   Ask which parts of the task are done in the IT system and what tasks are also done on spreadsheets. Ask how many emails are created to do the job.  I bet you will be worn out!   And ready to take action.
Jean Cunningham

Jean Cunningham: Standard work is the best way that is currently know to do the work

By Jean Cunningham, - Last updated: Thursday, May 31, 2012
Standard work is the best way that is currently know to do the work.  As decided by the people who do the work.  To get the best possible standards, the people doing the work might have involved customers and suppliers of their work to better understand what is needed.   The standard will evolve over time as the work content changes, the understanding of waste improves, and the supplier and customer needs change.   The real question I think is "why have a standard?"  And as the question implies, the purpose of the standard is achieve repeatable results irrespective of who does the work which improves downstream quality and results.  Additionally, ...

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Jean Cunningham

Jean Cunningham: A lean leader celebrates disclosing problems and other people’s abilities to solve them

By Jean Cunningham, - Last updated: Saturday, March 3, 2012
A lean leader celebrates disclosing problems. A lean leader celebrates other people's abilities to solve problems. A lean leader follows standard work themselves and expect it from everyone in the team.   A lean leader creates time for improvement and starts every meeting with "what have you improved since we last met?" A traditional leader celebrates good news.  A traditional leader promotes fire fighters. A traditional leader believes people have to be managed.  A traditional leader evaluates how closely the plan was followed. A traditional leader sets targets based on internal capability.
Jean Cunningham

Jean Cunningham: Learn lean and have fun!

By Jean Cunningham, - Last updated: Friday, May 27, 2011
Any change takes thought leaders and when others see great results they will follow.   Unfortunately we often do not know what to look for in terms of results, or we are too far from the action to see results other than in a report out or meeting notes. Another risk is having the initial launching efforts so diffused that there is activity all over, but no real point of focus to demonstrate success. The third risk is when the efforts for change are lead by a charismatic leader who has some success and then is promoted or leaves the company, and the standards for day to day improvement is ...

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Jean Cunningham

Jean Cunningham: Sustaining Lean

By Jean Cunningham, - Last updated: Monday, April 4, 2011
As CFO, one method I used to sustain lean thinking was to ask "what has improved since our last meeting" during each of our monthly metric meetings.   Each person on the team was empowered to make change within their jobs or with others.  And we had a cadence....for instance we had an arbitrary Takt of 1 per week.  So as well as discussing what had changed, one team member who was our "counter" would share "it is week 15, we have 18 improvements" or "it is week 32 and we have 28 improvements".   When we were starting to fall behind, we would spend more time that session talking ...

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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
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 ...

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Jean Cunningham

Jean Cunningham: Are Lean IT and Agile Compatible?

By Jean Cunningham, - Last updated: Monday, November 22, 2010
Lean IT results from the application of lean principles to information systems and the IT function. Changes made to IT are directly related to changes made and learnings discovered while converting manufacturing to the Toyota Production System or “lean”. Via an evolutionary spiral that began in earnest in the early 90’s, the elimination of waste in all processes at the shop floor yielded huge improvements in lead time and quality. This was accomplished through the use of continuous improvement thinking by all employees who were trained in lean principles and adopted a lean attitude. Then, over the past decade, this ...

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Jean Cunningham

Jean Cunningham: Poka Yoke in an administrative process

By Jean Cunningham, - Last updated: Wednesday, August 4, 2010
After introducing the concept of Jidoka, specifically the element of poke yoke or mistake proofing, a kaizen team came up the following improvement: At the hospital, when an employee goes on worker's compensation, their pay is no longer via payroll system, but though worker's compensation insurance provider. However, the supervisors, who did not have experience with this very often (thank goodness!) where unclear about whether they should put the employees' hours in the payroll system as sick time, or as unworked time. Previously this problem was supposed to be avoided based on education; but that wasn't working well. Education of rules rarely works when you have to apply the ...

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Jean Cunningham

Jean Cunningham: Flow works for marketing as well

By Jean Cunningham, - Last updated: Sunday, July 11, 2010
What could be worse than developing a great marketing plan with a very timely message, then spending all your time pushing the project through the company,only to find the key dates slipping by and ultimately missing the opportunity? To compensate, we plan the new marketing approaches months and months in advance and the message is not integrated with other selling activities.  What if instead you could have a cross functional meeting of all the key contributors to look at the existing process for delivering a marketing program, eliminate steps in the process that are not adding value to delivering the message, and reduce the time from concept to ...

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Jean Cunningham

Jean Cunningham: Stop Rewarding Firefighting!

By Jean Cunningham, - Last updated: Sunday, June 13, 2010
One way to support a "opportunity culture" is to stop rewarding firefighting.  Instead of performance reviews discussing specific objectives and challenges overcome, target more on lack of crisis and even flow.  I remember discussing with a manager the performance review of a cell leader that described him as not being "action oriented" and "lacking leadership skills."  I had actually managed this person before and it did not fit with my experience.  What we determined was the new manager was expecting to see more heroics and had not really thought about the fact that the cell under this leader's guidance had steadily improved all the key metrics and had developed ...

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Jean Cunningham

Jean Cunningham: A war story

By Jean Cunningham, - Last updated: Thursday, June 3, 2010
Monday I was at a Memorial Day cook out (where else!).  I met a guy who does systems consulting and was telling me how he was into process improvement. His firm had hired this “crazy” guy who was into lean. He went into the client and showed them how they could get all the work for a process (I think it was entering orders) done in one and half day for the entire country by creating a flow line.  Each job had standard work and they paced the flow based on the printer sound which was ...

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