Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Getting real before the chips are down!

Many companies set out on their own Lean journey only to find they are up to their necks in stuff. Why is this? It is because most companies are totally unprepared for their Lean journey. In fact, research suggests that over 90% of companies who embark on a Lean journey will fail within two years. This is an astounding number!

Most companies don't think about implementing Lean principles until it's too late. The business has taken a turn for the worst and things are looking pretty bad. I call this scenario the "Oh Crap Factor."  How can a company in this state begin to stack the deck in their favor?

They can start by using the 5P's. Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance! To prepare, a business must clearly define its purpose for implementing a Lean program. Next, it must determine the outcome it is trying to achieve, this could be to increase market share, improve profits, save jobs, etc. It must be able to define a measurement of success or a Key Performance Indicator (KPI). How will it define success? This is very important, without this the business will not know if it is on the correct course or not.

Training its employees to understand the Lean tools is another important part of preparation. I would suggest using an online training program such as Lean Certification Online. This will allow employees to receive their training during non-production hours.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Applying Lean Principles in a Business!

I get lots of comments about applying Lean principles in a business when the economy is down and troubled. I say "Listen up people! Nothing is easy at any time but now is the time to suck it up and make your business as effective as it can be at delivery products to your customers on-time, every time."

To many business owners are focused on what is not happening in Washington DC to turn the economy around rather than trying to get their businesses prepared for when things do change. I can only give this piece of advice "Stop looking over their for solutions, they are not coming from that direction, start looking at your own business today!" Try to improve your processes by teaching your employees about how to use and  implement Lean principles. Empower your employees to come to work and turn on their creativity. Allow the to finds simple ways to work smarter and not harder. The myth is that everyone will get out of trouble by working harder. Not true! People have to work smarter and only then will the magic happen in every business.