Lean Roadmap Newsletter
Becoming a World Class Enterprise 
12th Edition

Another Free Webinar!

A 2 hour Version - "Introduction to Policy Deployment & Lean Implementation Planning"
A more detailed (than our previous webinar) version of the most powerful Lean activity your organization will ever accomplish!!

Join us for a free Webinar on August 6th.
Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:
Title: Introduction to Policy Deployment & Lean Implementation Planning (2 hour session)

Date: Thursday, August 6th, 2009

Time: 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM EDT

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

System Requirements
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 2000, XP Home, XP Pro, 2003 Server, Vista

Macintosh®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.4 (Tiger®) or newer
In this edition we continue with our Lean Leader Coach series:
  • The Lean Leader Coach - Communication Skills - Part I 
This series is intended to provide tools, tips, ideas, and coaching for leaders whose organizations are implementing Lean as their operating system. 

Also in this edition, we continue our discussion on How to Prevent Lean Implementation Failures - 10 Reasons Why Failures Occur. We will discuss, from the least critical (Reason #10), to most critical/fatal (Reason #1) why Lean implementation failures occur. Today we will discuss Reason #6:
  • Lack of Improvement Measurements

The Lean Leader Coach - Communication Skills - Part I

by Mattie Watson
In our Lean Training sessions, we spend a fair amount of time talking about the importance of communication during a Lean implementation. This is one skill where every person I know (myself included) needs to make improvements.  An effective Lean Leader will make a concerted effort to improve his or her communication skills on a daily basis.
As you already know, communication consists of two parts - sending information and receiving information. Within organizations, each associate perceives himself as either the sender (Leaders) or the receiver (followers) of information. I have yet to encounter an individual who perceives that both elements are part of his or her daily activity. Yet this is absolutely essential within a Lean Enterprise. Every individual must willingly convey all the information they have (ideas, experience, knowledge) AND listen to this information as it comes from others in the organization - regardless of their rank, job title, or position within the company. The challenge for most leaders is two-fold. They are loath to give up "sensitive" information and their listening skills are horrendous. (I often tell participants in my training sessions the "secret" that the higher in the organization I go the worse the listening skills are, but they are already aware of this.)
Let's address a specific situation where Leaders balk at giving up sensitive information. WCM Associates encourages organizations to conduct all associate meetings on a monthly basis (a conveying information activity). Part of the information expected to be shared at this meeting is financial performance. This causes many leaders to blanch, shake their heads and say, "No way am I giving out that information!" Generally the excuse is that they cannot risk this information getting into the "wrong hands." Other Leaders indicate that their workforce won't be able to understand this information. Our experience is that both issues are non-existent. First, you do not have to provide tons of detail - just an overview. If you are a publicly traded company this information is already available. Second, if you present this information without using the vocabulary of a finance doctoral candidate, folks will get it. They do, after all, manage their own household finances and can certainly understand that the organization lost money because it spent more than it took in. Withholding the information accomplishes nothing. Providing specifics on where money was lost (e.g. scrap, downtime, accidents) and asking the workforce to identify ways to stop these situations puts you in a better position to eliminate the problems.  Lean is about everyone in the organization actively participating in the process.
So ask yourself, "Is there any information I am willfully withholding?" Then ask why you do so. Is there any legitimate reason or just a vague fear that something bad will happen? The fact that you've never done it before does not qualify as a good reason. People will be able to make better decisions and solve problems only when all pertinent information is available to them.
In our next issue we will address the bigger challenge of improving our listening skills.  
If you have specific questions or issues that you would like addressed in future issues, please send them to info@wcmfg.com and reference Lean Leader Coach in the subject line. We would also enjoy hearing about approaches that may have jump-started or supported Lean in your organization. 

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"How to Prevent Lean Implementation Failures: 10 Reasons Why
Failures Occur"
 REASON #6 - Lack of Improvement Measurements
Measure Only Those Things You Wish to Improve (and all measurements should tie back to the organization's goals) 
by Larry Rubrich
It is an axiom in World Class Enterprise (WCE) that you must set a baseline and have on-going measurements for any process you wish to improve. No baseline, no measurements--no improvement. Measurements are like maps. Maps can take you anywhere in the world you want to go, but a map will do you no good if you don't know where you are at (baseline).
However, what do you measure? Companies make several big mistakes. First, companies make too many measurements. Some companies may measure 15-25 Performance Indicators (PIs) or Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). The reality is that people in most organizations cannot successfully improve 15-25 items at one time, because it is such an overwhelming number, even for the best people in the organization. It paralyzes everyone and then very little gets improved. This is especially true for associates on the shop floor who have just recently begun to experience an empowered environment where they can be involved and participate. When they are hit with these 15-25 numbers and asked for their help, it's overwhelming. A maximum of five measurements is suggested.
Tie the Measurements into the Company's Goals Using Policy Deployment
The second mistake that companies make is not directly tying all of their measurements to the company's budget or business plan goals using Policy Deployment. All measurements and improvement goals should support the company's goals as developed in Policy Deployment.
The third mistake is not setting office performance improvement goals (assuming again this ties back to the business plan goals and Policy Deployment) for their "knowledge" or "information product" as part of the Lean Implementation Plan, and then not measuring office performance against those goals. Office areas have the greatest opportunity for productivity improvements, because they are almost never measured. Every manufacturing company knows what the shop floor productivity numbers are, but few can talk about office numbers. Below are some examples of typical office measurables.
 Office Measureables   
Visually Communicating Measurements
On-going measurements, to affect change, should be displayed visually in the work areas. All members of the work area team should be able to see the measurements. Data is recorded not less than hourly for most processes. Top management should be able to walk throughout the company, seeing and understanding how each area is doing against their Policy Deployment goals, without asking a question.
Creating great ways to display the measurements is somewhat of an evolutionary process. It is suggested that you may start with a hand lined-out flip chart as shown below.  

Production Board

Once you are sure of the desired format, you can either have a template printed on the flip chart or create a lined out "white board."
The ultimate measurement is Real Time. An example is shown below. 

Production Board - CME

Summary - Reason #6
Convert the company's goals from Policy Deployment into process improvements. Measure any process that requires improvement.

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Next Issue Articles:

  • Why Lean Failures Occur - Reason #5: Lack of Customer Focus
  • The Lean Leader Coach - Communication Skills - Part II
Policy Deployment 

The Most Powerful Lean Activity Your Organization Will Ever Accomplish!


    Don't forget to register for our free webinar!

Reserve your webinar seat now at Reserve your Webinar seat now at: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/615630530 
WCM Associates Lean Activities Schedule
"We have tried other Lean providers in the past, but WCM Associates has proven to be the best in all aspects of Lean."
Keith Lodahl
Goodwill Industries

Lean Master Facilitator Training Session in Fort Wayne, IN!

This standard Lean Master Facilitator training session will be hosted by Bluffton Motor Works in Bluffton, IN (just south of Fort Wayne, IN).
You can attend just one class or start the journey to becoming a Lean Master Facilitator by attending all 3 weeks.
Session dates are:
Week 1 = August 31st
Week 2 = September 21st
Week 3 = October 19th
For more information and pricing:
For scheduling call Kelly at (260) 637-8064 or email kelly@wcmfg.com.

Lean Master Facilitator Training Session in Yakima, WA!

This standard Lean Master Facilitator session will be hosted by Shields Bag and Printing Company in Yakima, WA.
You can attend just one class or start the journey to becoming a Lean Master Facilitator by attending all 3 weeks.
Session dates are:
Week 1 = August 10th
Week 2 = August 24th
Week 3 = September 14th
For scheduling and pricing call Kelly at 260-637-8064 or email kelly@wcmfg.com.
More Sessions to Follow in the Near Future!  
Larry Rubrich
WCM Associates LLC
© 2009 WCM Associates
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