The following article from Planet Lean demonstrates how lean thinking offers a powerful way to frame and address problems. In the article Immunity, members of the Italian company FPZ detail their operational responses to the current global pandemic.
“The flexibility afforded to us by our lean culture, our commitment to problem solving and our determination to always have a contingency plan ready for our critical resources enabled us to quickly communicate with our key suppliers and enable internal measures aiming to ensure continuity in production,” write the authors, who ask: ‘What is lean management if not structured problem solving to always satisfy customers while minimizing waste?’”
Read this piece to learn how this manufacturer quickly tackled numerous problems, ranging from workplace safety to remote communications, by tapping into lean principles. This detailed and deeply humane story ends with the following list of lessons:
- The captain of the ship needs to be frank but positive, without belittling the risk. In these difficult times, we need to take care of the mood of our people more than ever.
- Humans are social beings and getting them to interiorize unpleasant, but necessary isolation measures has been hard. You can never stress them enough.
- You can never give people enough information, even on the behaviors they should follow when they come to work or leave to go home (avoid public transport and carpooling, etc).
- The message doesn’t always reach everyone in the same way. Despite our best effort, some colleagues continued to underestimate the threat of the virus.
- Whenever we involved people in the decision-making process (for instance on how to reorganize the shifts in production), we always saw active participation and experienced no resistance.
- When instability looms, the message going out to people has to be clear and impossible to misinterpret.
- Collaboration between departments and office is critical to help each other out in a difficult time.
- Always focus on the learning, because only by sharing and co-creating ideas can we achieve the personal growth of all those involved.