Friday, March 27, 2009

A Roadmap to Lean: Creating the Plan

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 final step in the Planning phase is to create the implementation plan. In this step, we want to:

  • Define and sequence the Kaizen events to be conducted
  • Identify and allocate personnel required for each Kaizen event
  • Re-allocate existing workloads if required to free up resources
  • Create a plan that reflects the priorities identified to date
  • Define the overall metrics to be used to monitor progress

All of the planning steps so far have lead to this point in the effort. With this information, the plan can set in motion the actions that will begin to deliver actual results – savings from waste elimination. Although the plan should be oriented to deliver the best bang for the buck, it is often times a good idea to start with a fairly simple, easy–to-do event so that those involved can learn about the process and have an early success. Coming out of the chutes with the biggest, most difficult event will likely discourage people before they even get started. Deliverables from this task will include:

  • An activity plan that defines the sequence and duration of the planned Kaizen events
  • Defined milestones and expected dates of achievement
  • Definition of the progress metrics to be used
  • Assignment of participants and accountabilities for each Kaizen event
  • Creation of a public information area so that everyone can be informed

It should be recognized that this plan is not set in stone. Many times, during one Kaizen event, an issue is uncovered that was not considered before which becomes more important than others in the plan. By being flexible, which is a mantra of Lean, these new and better ideas can be addressed without losing the overall focus. As long as these ideas are in sync with the overall goals and metrics set forth in the beginning, changing the plan makes sense to seize the new opportunities.

This five step planning phase for Going Lean can take a few days or a few weeks, depending on the size and type of organization and the scope the effort. However, it needs to be done to some extent since implementation without it will lead to a haphazard approach that kills momentum and does not yield significant results. It also isn’t really over when it is “done”. Like the whole idea of Being Lean, it is all about ongoing, continuous improvement - so it all needs to be constantly reviewed over time.

On to Implementation!! Are you Best-in-Class?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Roadmap to Lean: Analyze the Opportunities

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 fourth step in the Planning phase is to analyze opportunities for Lean in the organization. In this step, we want to:
  • Create Current and Future State Diagrams of the Business Processes
  • Identify Non-Value Added Activities
  • Identify Potential Process Redesign Opportunities
  • Define and Document Expected Improvements
  • Review with Management for Approval

Using a value stream approach to looking at the current state of the processes used in the organization, non-value added activities can be identified and targeted for elimination. With this map of the current state and the knowledge gained by the team though the strategy development activities and the education to date, a future state of the organization can be developed. Deliverables from this task will include:

  • Current and Future Process Flow and/or Value Stream Mapping Documents
  • New Process Layouts and Material Flow Diagrams
  • New Organization Diagrams and Work Team Assignments
  • Ranked List of Potential Lean Opportunities

By developing a future state map of the organization and identifying where the various Lean concepts can be applied, waste eliminating opportunities will be identified. The specific opportunities that come from this analysis will lead to Kaizen events in the implementation phase and will form the basis of the plan to be developed. The ranking decisions will incorporate the magnitude of the change, the impact on the organization, the potential cost, the potential benefit, and the ease of implementation. This information will become inputs to the next and final step of the planning phase, Creating an Implementation Plan.

Are you Best-in-Class?

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Roadmap to Lean: Education and Training

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 third step in the Planning phase is to address education and training regarding lean in the entire organization. In this step, we want to:

  • Identify “Gaps” in the Lean Education for Management
  • Document Cultural Change Objectives
  • Develop Lean Employee Education Curricula
  • Prepare Skills Matrix and Education Schedule

The goal here is to identify overall education needs for the entire organization which will include an overview of Lean concepts and the possibilities that exist. Another important area to include in this education is change management so that people understand up front some of the challenges they will be facing when making change happen. It is also important to include education about the transformation process itself so that everyone understands how this transformation process will be conducted and how they will be involved. Deliverables from this task will include:

  • Education Plan for the Entire Organization
  • Lean Education Session Materials
  • Lean Facilitator Notes
  • Delivery of “Lean” Education to Key Functional Leaders

Not all Lean educational needs of the organization will necessarily be met with this segment since each kaizen event in the implementation phase may need specific training in order to be successful. This topic specific training will be conducted at that time for those who will participate in the task. Instead, this education is necessary for the entire organization so that all who are to participate are on the same page and are going in the same direction with the same understanding. Once it is complete, participants will be able to understand the concepts and possibilities so that they can proceed to the next step of planning, Analyzing Opportunities.

Are you Best-In-Class?