One of the challenges in getting results from lean thinking is to understand lean as a system rather than just a collection of tools. Many organizations start applying lean tools in an effort to improve efficiency. In the short term, this method of application can harvest some low-hanging fruit as waste is everywhere.
However, lean has the power to fundamentally change an organization if we see it as a system. When I teach workshops or speak to small groups I attempt to demonstrate this in one flipchart drawing. This lean in one drawing illustrates how the tools work together with a management system and philosophy designed to support workers and help them be successful in their jobs. Recently, I turned my hand-drawn flip chart into a whiteboard video. Here is my concept of thinking about lean as a system and to demonstrate the linkage between lean tools and how the system can create organizational advantage.
So, watch my video and then pick one of your key processes and ask yourself to what extent you have all the pieces of the system in place as I have described. I’ll bet you’ll have some missing connections that you can focus on improving. Share the video with others to help your organization better understand lean as a system and use it to diagnose your own important processes to judge how well you are doing at creating basic stability.