Building a Lean Culture.
What is the real objective of Lean Six Sigma? When I ask this question, I usually get responses such as increased quality, improved speed, reduced cost, reduced errors and many other tactical improvement measures. Those are all benefits to continuous improvement (CI). The real goal of CI is to build a culture or improve a culture. As Dr. Womack wrote in Lean Thinking, the fifth principle of lean is culture.
So what does it mean to build a culture or to enhance the culture? How does a world-class culture behave? A world-class culture has an engrained tendency to seek out, identify and drive improvements at all levels of the organization. It moves from a culture where lean and Six Sigma are something to be done (like a project) to a place where Lean Six Sigma is simply the way things are done.
As you are engaging your CI plan, ask yourself what your culture is like. Are you doing CI or is CI simply the way things are done? This shouldn’t be hard to figure out, so don't spend a lot of time dwelling on it. Either you are or you aren't. Either answer is OK. Just recognize where you are and where you are trying to go.
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Change Management in Hospital Transitions, Part 1.
Relocating hospital operations from one facility to another is a highly complex endeavor that requires years of planning, especially when it comes to managing the change for employees and patients. This blog series addresses the serious challenges hospitals face during a hospital transition .
Without change management practices, hidden issues can plague medical facility transitions, including:
- Clinical errors
- Reduced quality of care
- Employee stress and burnout
- Job dissatisfaction and increased attrition
- Resistance to change
- Communication problems
- Role confusion
- Workflow issues (current and future)
Hospital Transition Staff can mitigate known and unforeseen problems by initiating proactive change management activities:
- Initiate change management activities two years before facility completion
- Manage employee stress levels
- Communicate early and often with employees
- Engage actively with patients, vets, and other stakeholders
- Begin redesigning hospital workflow before the physical move
- Provide awareness orientations and workflow training
- Plan and train for move day activities (“dry runs”
The September 30, 2011 edition of Manufacturing and Technology News magazine presented an article entitled, Lean and Six Sigma Are Not Leading To Breakthroughs In Corporate Performance. This article (the result of a survey of 100 business executives conducted by Alix Partners, a business consulting firm) highlighted some problems with Lean and Six Sigma implementations, including:
n 70% of respondents reported a less than 5% improvement in manufacturing costs as a result of Lean.
n 60% of respondents said their previous Lean improvements were not sustainable.
n Only 17% of respondents reported seeking long-term culture change in their organization.
Alix Partners made observations about the survey that are summarized here:
n Most companies are getting a poor return on their investment in Lean and Six Sigma.
n Companies are far too focused on implementing Lean tools and processes rather than on basic execution.
n Organizations need to dramatically rethink their Lean strategies by focusing on cash and finding the biggest opportunity to improve, and then deciding which Lean tool(s) will help them achieve that result.
n Company Leadership Teams must take responsibility for the Lean implementation, rather than trying to push this responsibility down to the Lean facilitator.
This data supported a report completed by Industry Week magazine in 2007 that reported the following Lean results from American business:
In the book, Leading Change, noted organizational change expert John Kotter notes that there are five prerequisites required to achieve any type of organizational change:
n Establishing a Sense of Urgency - Individuals or organizations do not change without a sense of urgency to do so.
n Creating the Guiding Coalition - Put together a group with enough power to lead and guide the organization through the change. This group should represent a cross-section of the organization.
n Developing a Vision and Strategy
n A vision is a broad description or picture of the future state of the organization. Create a vision to help direct the change effort (this is completed in Policy Deployment).
n Developing strategies for achieving that vision that include both marketing and operational activities (this is completed in Policy Deployment).
n Communicating the Change Vision
n Use every verbal and visual vehicle possible to constantly communicate the new vision and strategies (this is completed in Policy Deployment, Step 7 enabler projects).
n Empowering all associates (developed in Lean Culture)
n Get rid of obstacles that prevent associates from participating.
Change systems or structures that prevent associates from creating the change vision. Encourage risk taking and nontraditional ideas, activities, and actions.
Experience has shown that adopting Lean requires, right from the beginning, a strong "sense of urgency" and commitment from the Leadership Team to the organizational change required to successfully implement Lean. This commitment to change must include the area where generally the greatest change must occur--the Leadership Team.
For more by Larry, see his blog.
In our daily work, we all know our duties and how to do our job, but often, although the procedures are not well-defined, we do our job a particular way because "we have always done it this way".
In the last posts (Kaizen in Time Managing and Kaizen in Time Managing - 2) we improved our daily job, managing it with daily-planned tasks, dividing our jobs in "categories" or "process" and planning our working hours to reflect our tasks-categories, so we split the day in standard work time-spans. Also we learned how to eliminate fire-fighting habits related to emergencies.
Now it is time to standardize each of our own processes.
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Process Evaluation for Waste Reduction
In this post I want to show a method to check whether or not your process is creating value, so you can easily recognize what are your improvement possibilities to eliminate wastes.
This method can be easily used on micro-processes since it is useful to identify all possible wastes.
This method consists in building a simple list of tasks to accomplish in order to get our job done. Then you must assign a category to each one of them.
Categories are aimed to check what is waste and what is not, and what kind of waste they represent.
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Supplier Evaluation with KPIs
Measuring supplier performance is something that is often done discontinuously, for example, whenever you think performance is lowering or you feel dissatisfied with the supplier.
However, a constant measurement of supplier performance is very important because it allows you to react to problems, prevent disasters, and set new goals. Measuring performance is not just a way to criticize or obtain cost reduction/refunds because of quality problems; it should also be a tool to help suppliers maintain service and build improvement plans.
Moreover, as discussed in the defining requirements post, a requirement can't be expressed just by feelings, because you need to justify what you are telling the supplier and avoid false alarms that can make the supplier judge you as unreliable. Because of these considerations, the starting point is that you and your suppliers need to speak a shared language, embodied in the key performance indicators, or KPIs.
A KPI is a numerical objective measurement that expresses performance from a single point of view. An example of a KPI might be “defects per thousand parts” or “percentage of delays per month”.
The Dimensions of Supplier Evaluation
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Four Challenges of Managing in a Lean Environment, Part 3
Challenge: Knowing when our work is meeting customer needs in quality and quantity
The final task of the Lean Manager is to monitor and maintain performance by measuring it. You may have heard the adage, “what gets measured, gets done.” Unfortunately, the measures typically in place in government are overall costs and little else. Using total cost or total FTEs as a blunt instrument, budget reduction efforts may ensnare your organization in a cost-cutting spiral without a way to defend yourself. What you need is a way to tie outcomes to process measurements. Thankfully, this is how to improve performance as well.
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Four Challenges of Managing in a Lean Environment, Part 2
Planning - The Eye of the Storm
Challenge: Maintaining a plan in a dynamic environment
While Leading is the most visible role of the Lean Manager, Planning is often the most invisible. It requires a mix of experience and attention to detail, taking into account the current state and potential or likely changes in the environment.
How Do Momentum and Feedback Factor into Lean Management?
The Lean Manager is a student of the game. S/he understands physics and systems theory – recognizing that the conservation of momentum and the feedback control loop are two of the most important laws in management.
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Four Challenges of Managing in a Lean Environment, Part 1
If we have an overarching goal as an organization, wouldn’t it be ‘habitual excellence’? How do we adopt that habit? Since the success of every project, every initiative, every department-wide goal depends upon executive support, it follows that excellence itself depends on management. If we want to create an excellent Lean organization, we have to manage that way – there must be a corollary to Lean operations. We must manage a Lean environment using Lean principles.
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