Lean Roadmap Newsletter
Becoming a World Class Enterprise 
13th Edition 
In this edition we continue with our Lean Leader Coach series:
  • The Lean Leader Coach - Communication Skills - Part II
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 #5:
  • Lack of Customer Focus

Free Lean Webinars Schedule

Introduction to A3 Problem Solving

This is an introduction to the structured problem solving format known as A3 Problem Solving. Popularized by Toyota, the A3 format is used in Toyota for problem solving, proposal writing, and status reports.
Title: Introduction to A3 Problem Solving

Date: Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Time: 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time 

Space is limited. Reserve your Webinar seat now at:

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

System Requirements
PC-based attendees

Speakers for listening, and a microphone if you wish to participate
Required: Windows® 2000, XP Home, XP Pro, 2003 Server, Vista

Macintosh®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.4 (Tiger®) or newer
"Accounting for Lean" 
This Webinar is designed for organizations that use "Standard Cost" as their management cost system. It gives operations and accounting personnel an understanding of how and why "red flags" can be set off in the standard cost system during a normal Lean implementation.  

Title: Accounting for Lean

Date: Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Time: 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time

Space is limited. Reserve your Webinar seat now at: 
After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

System Requirements (same as Webinar above)
"Lean Administration"
In most manufacturing organizations the area of lowest productivity is in the office, not in operations. This Webinar will discuss the 5 steps to implementing Lean in administrative areas.

Title: Introduction to Lean Implementation in Administration and Office Areas

Date: Thursday, September 10, 2009

Time: 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Mark Your Calendars - Registration Details to Follow
"Introduction to Policy Deployment & Lean Implementation Planning"  -  Two Hour Version
A more detailed (than our previous one hour webinar) version of the most powerful Lean activity your organization will ever accomplish!!
Title: Introduction to Policy Deployment & Lean Implementation Planning (Two hour Version)

Date: Thursday, September 17, 2009

Time: 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Mark Your Calendars - Registration Details to Follow
The Lean Leader Coach - Communication Skills Part II
This series is intended to provide tools, tips, ideas, and coaching for leaders whose organizations are implementing Lean as their operating system.

by Mattie Watson
In the last issue, we talked about the importance of sharing financial and other "sensitive" information with the workforce. Assuming you did not keel over at this thought, I would like to address an even more critical skill for a Lean Leader - listening.
Most leaders are not good listeners for a number of reasons. Primarily, leaders are promoted or successful in their organizations because they are good at taking charge and making things happen - the Captain Kirk of the company. More insidious is their mistaken presumption that others, outside the leader position, are incapable of solving problems or taking effective corrective action - that lower ranking associates don't understand the "big picture" or can't move swiftly. To this we say, "Hockey Pucks!"
To be fair, when you have been rewarded for a particular behavior it is reasonable to expect that you will repeat that behavior. Unfortunately, the behavior of not listening to the ideas or concerns of all associates in the organization is an anti-Lean activity. It will cause your implementation to crawl along, if not stop altogether. 
An extreme case of this failure to listen happened to me during my apprenticeship. One particular supervisor never spoke to hourly folks. All his communication went through the Group Leader. One day I was given a particularly disagreeable job -- dirty, noisy, and difficult. It was standard fare for apprentices. During the day, however, I was able to figure out an easier way to do the process without sacrificing product integrity or quality. I was excited because these types of ideas for me are rare. It must have been my excitement that caused me to forget who I was dealing with because I told the supervisor about my discovery. His response was a look of disdain and an emphatic, "You're not here to think!" How discouraging!! After the incident, I paid closer attention to my co-workers. Not one was engaged in the job. Each was just waiting for the end of the shift so they could re-engage their brains in something they enjoyed. What a waste! While this may be an extreme example, failing to listen is a huge problem, both at work and in our society. 
Before we continue with this discussion on listening, I am giving you an assignment. (Remember, Lean Leaders must make a concerted effort to improve their communication skills on a daily basis.) Select one person at work and one person outside of work and listen to everything these people say without judgment or comment. Listen, and then summarize what you heard them say. (Use care not to stare intensely at the same time as this will creep out the other person.) It's best if you select folks that you have a difficult relationship with and that you see regularly during your day. Do this until the next issue of the newsletter. If you feel so inclined, please e-mail me the results of your efforts at
mwatson@wcmfg.com. Good luck!
10 Reasons Why Lean Implementations Fail 
Reason #5: Lack of Customer Focus
Customer Satisfaction Drives Profitability

by Larry Rubrich
A simple model for competing in the global economy is shown below: 

Customer Satisfaction  

Starting with Customer Satisfaction, which is the only reason any company is in business, leads to company profitability. In fact, the companies that have the highest levels of customer satisfaction are also the most profitable. The Japanese have a wonderful saying for this: "Profits are the reward of the satisfied customer." When you think about it, this make a huge amount of sense. As consumers, don't we all frequent the businesses that satisfy us? If we are treated poorly at a place of business, we don't go back.
So customer satisfaction leads to profits, which then lead to jobs. The reality for all of us is that companies are in the business of making money, not necessarily hiring people like us.
Teamwork Drives Customer Satisfaction
But where does customer satisfaction come form? It comes from teamwork, with everyone pulling in the same direction. No blame games, no witch-hunts, no "our department got it done but that other department screwed up and that's why we couldn't take care of the customer." Everyone pulling in the same direction for the customer.
One of the nice things about focusing on customer satisfaction is that it is a common goal that everyone believes in and can pull toward. Remember, common goals build teamwork.  
What is the definition of customer satisfaction? Widely used is this one: Customer satisfaction is meeting the customer's expectation for the quality, delivery, price, performance, and service of our part, product, or service. Some people would argue with this definition and say that the goal is to "exceed" the customer's expectation. Some people say the goal is to "delight" the customer. We agree with both statements, but there is a sequence: you must start with meeting the expectations-then you can move on to exceed and delight. For most companies, meeting the expectations is still the goal.
The problem with most companies and customer satisfaction is that companies believe that doing more of what the customer wants will increase their business costs. Actually, the opposite is true. Companies misperceive the cost of customer satisfaction as shown below:  

Cost of CS

Customers are basically approaching all companies today saying they need better quality, lower prices, shorter lead-times, and better delivery. The reaction many companies have to these requests is to throw their arms up in the air and say, "How are we going to do all these things and still make money?" These companies believe that as they increase levels of customer satisfaction, their costs will go up (as shown on the "perceived cost line" in the above figure). The realty is that this is never, never, never true. Business costs always go down as customer satisfaction goes up as shown on the "actual cost" line.
Business Waste as a Roadblock to Customer Satisfaction
How can this be true? The thing that makes our companies less competitive--business waste--is also the same thing that limits our ability to satisfy customers. To explain how this works we must define business waste.

Waste is anything other than the MINIMUM amount of people, time, equipment, material, parts, and space required to ADD VALUE to the product. To most everyone's shock and disbelief is the fact that most office and manufacturing processes contain up to 75% waste (Reason #10 showed how to test for this in your company).
We have introduced the term "adding value." It has two definitions. First, adding value is any operation or process the customer is willing to pay for. Secondly, adding value generally changes the "shape" or "form" of the part, product, service, or "information product." Office areas do not produce physical products, they produce "knowledge" or information product. Examples of adding value in companies are machining, welding, painting, and assembling. In the office, examples of adding value are formatting a customer order so that it can be created in the factory, or creating a customer drawing.
The problem with waste is that it hides in the woodwork or in the background. We have been doing wasteful activities for so long we think we need to do them. New processes are being developed today with waste designed into them. The figure below is a review of the eight general types of business waste.

8 Wastes

Administrative waste is usually disguised as some of the items shown below:

Admin Waste 2

A classic example of hidden office waste is supplier invoices. Suppliers are required to setup an Accounts Receivable department and send invoices to customers even though the customer's receiving department received and signed for the material. When the customer issued the purchase order for the material, the price of the item is known. Why force the supplier to supply invoices with information that is already known by the customer? Ultimately, the cost of maintaining an Accounts Receivable department at the supplier is borne by the customer--all waste!
Waste Elimination and Customer Satisfaction
When companies are asked whether there has ever been a circumstance in their company where scrap, rework, a long machine set up, or machine downtime, have ever prevented them from making a shipment on time, or forced them into overtime, or into a premium freight situation, the answer is unanimously yes. We can begin now to see how business waste in our companies are also barriers that prevent companies from taking care of their customers. Based on this, the entire focus of the tools and techniques of WCE is to identify and eliminate waste throughout the entire company. When we eliminate waste, we now know that two wonderful things happen to the company:
1) Business costs are reduced
2) Automatically, and as an outcome of reduced business costs, the company is in a better position to satisfy the customer
Summary - Reason #5
Focusing on the customer gives the company associates a common goal that everyone can rally behind. It then becomes the basis for all the WCE improvement activities which can then make the company globally competitive based on the needs of the marketplace.
WCM Associates Lean Activities Schedule 

Lean Master Facilitator Training 

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 

Yakima, WA (new dates)


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 24th
Week 2 = September 14th
Week 3 = September 28th
For scheduling and pricing call Kelly at 260-637-8064 or email kelly@wcmfg.com.
More Sessions to Follow in the Near Future!  
"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

Next Issue Articles:


  • The Lean Leader Coach - Communication Skills Part III
  • Why Lean Failures Occur - Reason #4: Not Understanding that Lean is About Developing Your People


Larry Rubrich
WCM Associates LLC
© 2009 WCM Associates
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