Making Lean Stick – Lean Culture Change Program

By on May 21, 2012
Lean Culture Change Program

“I really enjoyed the class. Your experience and knowledge of Lean really does come through in the class. You are an approachable expert which makes learning fun.”

“I just wanted to let you know that I thought you did an excellent job of presenting the material. I like the way the class was so conversational and not just a typical academic sort of class structure.”

‘What a great set of experiences! This training really fueled my enthusiasm and gave a tremendous boost to my passion for improvement.”’

These are just a few examples of unsolicited participant praise for Corporate Service’s new Lean Culture Change Program, a series of ten highly interactive two-hour discussions facilitated by George Friesen, Business Practice Leader-Lean Manufacturing. This new program joins our Lean Leadership Certification Program, as training services designed to give participants tangible and practical tools to make Lean stick.

“Time after time, Lean fades because organizations do not address head on the fact that Lean won’t stick unless their culture—their organization’s DNA—undergoes a major transformation. Making this happen is difficult but it is possible. When it does happen, Lean delivers, driving the increases in productivity and profitability anticipated when the organization made its initial investment in Lean,” stated George.

More than anything else, making Lean really deliver requires a highly engaged workforce coupled with a team of managers and supervisors who understand what they need to do to help drive the implementation of Lean work processes. Just what are some of the very practical tools that are reviewed in the series of discussions, tools that make Lean stick? Here are descriptions of two of the most powerful.

Lean Idea BoardIncluded among the hundreds of highly effective tools reviewed in the Lean Culture Change Program is the “Idea Board.” The Idea Board is an elegantly simple and very powerful tool for stimulating employee thinking about ways to improve work processes, gathering employee process improvement suggestions, processing these suggestions, and acting upon them. It’s nothing more than a “board” with four columns labeled “My Idea”, “To Do”, “Doing”, and “Done.” And employee ideas are posted on the Idea Board with simple Post-it® notes on which employees briefly describe their suggestions, sign, and date. Here’s an “Idea Board” at work for one of our clients. Within months of first use, this client’s Idea Board had gathered hundreds of employee suggestions on how to increase productivity. Another client has carefully tracked the financial impact of their Idea Board and has told us that in one year line employees contributed ideas with a net, bottom-line impact of over $130,000. But the most important impact of the Idea Board in regard to Lean manufacturing is that it drives higher and higher levels of employee engagement because it is employee engagement upon which the success or failure of Lean directly depends.

Man Standing In CircleAnother powerful tool reviewed and applied in this program is Taiichi Ohno’s “Standing in a Circle” exercise, coupled with a “Waste Observation Checklist”, adapted from Ohno’s listing of the “Seven Wastes of Lean.” A consistent theme in this program’s very active discussions is the tremendous importance of supervisors and managers being very acute and astute observers of the work processes for which they have responsibility. Ohno teaches us that without highly disciplined, focused observation managers and supervisors literally don’t see many forms of waste. When they use his “Standing in a Circle” process they do. One team of program participants, using this disciplined form of observation, documented over 100 types of waste in their facility. And how did they drive immediate action on their observations? They posted them on their facility’s Idea Board.

The Lean Culture Change program would provide vital reinforcement for your implementation of Lean work processes. To put this powerful set of experiences to work for your company, call George Friesen, Business Practice Leader – Lean Manufacturing, at 314-303-0612 to schedule a meeting.

About George Friesen

George Friesen serves as Business Practice Leader - Lean Manufacturing for the Workforce Solutions Group of St. Louis Community College. He has led the College's Lean business practice area since 2000. Prior to joining the College, George worked for Maritz Performance Improvement Company. Over the past 35 years, he has served a wide variety of Fortune 500 companies, specializing during the past eleven years in Lean Manufacturing, focusing especially on the 5S System, Lean leadership and thinking processes, Value Stream Mapping, and Lean team building. George is a graduate of Washington University (AB), Webster University (MA), and United States Air Force Flight Training.

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