What are the most common errors when deploying LEAN?

Based on old thinking (top-down) “LEAN implement” and then be surprised that it does not work better than other methods.

The real basis of LEAN is TPS (Toyota Production System, Thinking People System and the work of Dr. W. Edwards Deming).These are the employees who continuously make improvements based on a scientific method. That DOESN’T WORK If your organization is managed top-down.

Releasing Top-down is very difficult for many, but it is necessary when you want to use the insight and talent of the employees to tackle the problems at the core.

To make this succeed, it is also important that the employees feel respected and know that they are not accused if something does not go well.Once there is fear of making a mistake, it keeps improving continuously.

As a business analyst I have a lot of experience with process issues.In addition, a friend of mine is working at one of the figurehead of Lean manufacturing in the Netherlands and I have heard him out in this area.

When I look at Lean I see two focus areas:

  1. It is very important to give the employees who carry out the actual work process the opportunity to improve this process-within the restrictions applicable to the process.
  2. From the “directing” it is important to carry out and facilitate the change objective-realizing more customer value.

Looking at general management theory, we see that realizing the maximum customer value is achieved through risk optimisation and the optimal use of limited/scarce resources.
Under the optimal use of resources is not the creation of overtime to achieve objectives, but rather to realise it with the current commitment.Lean assumes that this can be done by better tuning production processes and sharing work differently. A lot of small change is making a lot of profit at the bottom of the line over a long time. Working smarter, not harder.

Where it often goes wrong is that managers lose the relationship with the shop floor (if they have ever had it).They are in Lean facilitator, someone who helps make the work easier for employees by constantly taking away the root cause of problems.
The thought of Lean is that if someone makes a mistake the process did not prevent the mistake being made.The process deserves attention, not the individual. Where a conclusion may be that the root cause of the problem is a non-functioning HR policy that attracts inappropriate people.
As soon as this thought comes under pressure managers manager will play.And that results in resistance to the employees. Instead of eliminating ground causes, the employee will constantly escalate in the process of problems. This is the only way to eliminate the problem if the employee is not able to exert any influence.

Another mistake is that there is not enough to be learned.My friend has proposed an improvement in the process, a small improvement, but it has been implemented globally. And improvement proposals within other branches are also transferred to other branches. Vendors are asked to deliver things differently, work instructions are adjusted.
This can only be done if there is actually time for “introspection”, evaluation of the own work, and of the delivery and delivery-the connection with other processes.

Both aspects are related to an overarching issue: Lean (or Agile, which is closer to my work area) has to do with attitudes and behaviour, which we also call culture.If your organization is “not Lean” you should be willing to invest firmly in a new way of working. Or maybe I shouldn’t say a new way of working, but take a new way of making decisions. You have to be very clear about where people have to take decisions independently (the work improvement) and what they should not (fabricate another product). Please note that I must write explicitly and should not, because the change is really the responsibility of the individual employee. If this does not fit the person, it is with the wrong employer.

It also follows the last error: Lean is not a process issue, it uses processes to realize and secure a change in behaviour and attitude.
And that’s not an easy task, because you have to deviate from “We always do it”.And constant questions: can it be better? And if the answer is “yes” the change will also go into it.
This requires a lot of people, but well executed it also delivers a lot of it.
Making this visible and keeping is a challenge in itself, and management and staff often go wrong. Because “managers” and employees-what is the difference actually in a Lean organization?

Get bogged down in quick fixes because the time pressure is too high and the budget is too limited.

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