Action Plan

While every individual or company embarking on a lean journey will have different challenges based on their particular set of circumstances, there are several crucial steps that can help reduce resistance, spread the right learning, and engender the type of commitment necessary for lean enterprise.

Getting Started

  • Find a change agent, a leader who will take personal responsibility for the lean transformation.
  • Get the lean knowledge, via a sensei or consultant, who can teach lean techniques and how to implement them as part of a system, not as isolated programs.
  • Find a lever by seizing a crisis or by creating one to begin the transformation. If your company currently isn’t in crisis, focus attention on a lean competitor or find a lean customer or supplier who will make demands for dramatically better performance.
  • Forget grand strategy for the moment.
  • Map the value streams, beginning with the current state of how material and information flow now, then drawing a leaner future state of how they should flow and creating an implementation plan with timetable.
  • Begin as soon as possible with an important and visible activity.
  • Demand immediate results.
  • As soon as you’ve got momentum, expand your scope to link improvements in the value streams and move beyond the shop floor to office processes.

Creating an Organization to Channel Your Value Streams

  • Reorganize your firm by product family and value stream.
  • Create a lean promotion function.
  • Deal with excess people at the outset, and then promise that no one will lose their job in the future due to the introduction of lean techniques.
  • Devise a growth strategy.
  • Remove the anchor-draggers.
  • Once you’ve fixed something, fix it again.
  • “Two steps forward and one step backward is O.K.; no steps forward is not O.K.”

Install Business Systems to Encourage Lean Thinking

  • Utilize policy deployment.
  • Create a lean accounting system.
  • Pay your people in relation to the performance of your firm.
  • Make performance measures transparent.
  • Teach lean thinking and skills to everyone.
  • Right-size your tools, such as production equipment and information systems.

Completing the Transformation

  • Convince your suppliers and customers to take the steps just described.
  • Develop a lean global strategy.
  • Convert from top-down leadership to leadership based on questioning, coaching, and teaching and rooted in the scientific method of plan-do-check-act