Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Roadmap to Lean: Assess Lean Readiness

In order for an organization to transform from its current state of operation to one of a Lean Enterprise Organization, a two phase approach – Planning and Implementation - can be utilized. The first step in the Planning phase is to assess the Lean readiness of the entire organization and determine what fundamental changes needs to occur in order for the effort to be successful. In this step, we want to:
  • Determine how prepared the organization is for Lean concepts
  • Determine how Lean fits the business strategy and corporate culture
  • Evaluate the level of Lean concept understanding
  • Develop a high level list of potential opportunities
  • Identify changes that are required to support the effort of “Going Lean”
  • Estimate how long it should take to achieve results

By using an established checklist and management interviews, the assessment should cover the entire organization in the following areas:

  • Workplace Organization, Visual Control, Housekeeping
  • Just-In-Time Production
  • Quality in the Product and Processes
  • Empowered Employees/Teams
  • Visible Management
  • Continuous Pursuit of Perfection
  • Company Organization and Management Style
  • Company Services

As a result of this assessment, the findings and recommendations need to be documented with candid points about issues that must be addressed prior to any Lean activity being performed as well as high level potential benefits that can be expected. These findings also need to identify the strengths of the organization that will support a Lean effort that is attempted. The biggest change to an organization going lean is usually the culture change and paradigm shift that goes along with the ideas of waste elimination, continuous improvement, and empowerment – all of which are central to being Best-in-Class as a Lean Enterprise Organization. Not addressing the high level issues identified will mean that subsequent activities will only have marginal success (if any at all) and the organization will have the status of “Doing Lean” rather than achieving the quantum leap overall improvement that goes with “Being Lean”. Once this assessment is complete and accepted, the next step of planning, Developing a Lean Strategy, can commence.

Are you Best-in-Class?