How You Can Influence a Lean Transformation
Think you can’t influence the company’s lean effort because you are in a small department or unit? Think again, says Mike Hoseus, a faculty member at the Lean Enterprise Institute and co-author of the award-winning book Toyota Culture.
Hoseus notes that lean transformations often begin in a small area, especially one with a “model line,” a connected series of manufacturing and/or nonmanufacturing processes that is used to pilot the implementation of lean principles and behaviors. The line becomes an experiment for learning and then the example for teaching lean concepts to other parts of the company.
“Demonstrate success then you’ll be able to communicate with other departments and the next level up,” explained Hoseus. “Start with what you can control in your department, plant, or team and use plan-do-check-act (PDCA) to communicate success. PDCA shows management where problems have been solved and where help is needed going forward.”
PDCA is an improvement cycle based on the scientific method of proposing a change in a process, implementing the change, measuring the results, and taking appropriate action.
Hoseus offered his advice during a webcast of the workshop Creating a Sustainable Lean Culture. He developed his lean management skills at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, KY, where he worked at the general manager level in production and human resources. Toyota Culture received a Shingo Research Prize in 2009 for explaining how companies can select, develop, and motivate people to become committed to building high-quality products.
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