Lean Roadmap Newsletter
Becoming a World Class Enterprise 
17th Edition  
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 #2:
  • Why Lean Failures Occur - Reason #2: Lack of Communication (Part I of III) 
Also, in this edition we continue with our Lean Leader Coach series:
  • The Lean Leader Coach - Implementing New Ideas

This series is intended to provide tools, tips, ideas, and coaching for leaders whose organizations are implementing Lean as their operating system.

Free Lean Webinar Schedule

"Lean Administration" -- Advanced
This Webinar will discuss the advanced details of implementing Lean in administrative/office areas that were not covered in the "Introduction" Webinar including:

- De-departmentalization, using Value Stream Mapping to decide where to start
- The design of an office cell using Takt Time
- Cultural and Business considerations in office cell implementations
- Necessary Lean office cell support activities, 5S, Standard Work, Kanbans

Title: Implementing Lean in Administrative and Office Areas - Advanced

Date: Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Time: 3:00 PM - 4:30 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:
Internet Explorer as default browser 
Speakers for listening, microphone to verbally participate
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
Introduction to Applying Lean to Healthcare
This Webinar is an Introduction to how Lean applies to Healthcare processes and procedures. Included are the 8 general types of Healthcare activities that are wasteful and how Lean activities and tools can be applied to eliminate this waste.

Title:   An Introduction to Applying Lean in Healthcare

Date: Thursday, October 8, 2009

Time: 3:00 PM - 4:00 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 above Webinar.
Kaizen Event Preparation
This Webinar will discuss the details of the Kaizen Event Preparation Checklist which begins 3 weeks before the start of a Kaizen Event, as well as the typical 15 Step Kaizen Event process itself.

Title: Kaizen Event Preparation

Date: Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Time: 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM Easter 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 above Webinar.
How to Prevent Lean Implementation Failures -- 10 Reasons Why Failures Occur
This Webinar covers the 10 reasons why Lean implementation failures occur in organizations and includes what preventative measures organizations can take to prevent these 10 reasons from occurring.

Title: How to Prevent Lean Implementation Failures -- 10 Reasons Why Failures Occur

Date: Thursday, October 15, 2009

Time: 10:30 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 above Webinar
10 Reasons Why Lean Implementations Fail
Reason #2: Lack of Communication (Part I of III) 
Great two-way communication is the key to the empowerment and productivity of our most underutilized asset - our people. 
by Larry Rubrich
Of the eight types of business waste:

8 General Wastes 

the worst and most prevalent form of waste in American business is number eight: Underutilized Human Resources.

People-Our Most Underutilized Asset
It is interesting to note that the Japanese only recognize the first seven types of business waste, since fully utilizing their workforces has been a part of their culture at least since the end of World War II, when the belief "none of us have anything so let's all work together to get something" was prevalent. Others might add that "company" unions and a homogeneous population add to their ability to form teams and have everyone pulling in the same direction.

For American business, we would propose that the other seven forms of waste exist in huge amounts because of #8. The rest of this chapter explains how this can possibly be true.

We Say We Want Teamwork, But . . .
When the top management person in a com­pany, the CEO, President, or Plant Manager, is asked whether team work is important and re­quired within the organization, the answer 99% of the time is yes, absolutely! This answer flows quickly and easily from these managers. The fol­low-up questions for the 99% are these: Does that mean that all the members of your workforce, from machine operator in the plant (or the window teller in a bank) to the staff level managers have a copy of the company's playbook (business plan or bud­get)? Does every associate in your operation know what they must do hourly/daily/weekly to achieve the plan and keep the company successful now and in the future?

The reaction to these questions is in three parts. First, there is a question mark look; sec­ond, stunned silence and some embarrassment at the recognition of the issue; third, admission that all of their associates do not know what the plan is and do not have a copy of the playbook. Then, there is discussion on how to move forward in this area.
Why are managers saying they want organi­zational team work, yet there is no ongoing activity or plan to achieve it? Several reasons: 
  • Many top managers today were raised/ trained/developed when "teaming" was not important. Now that teams are essential to competing, these managers can "talk it" but they can't "walk it" organizationally.
  • Or the worst case, these same managers see the "team" as themselves and the 6 or 7 people that report to them - with "the com­pany wouldn't exist without us," attitude and "why doesn't everyone appreciate us for that?"
  • Or the second worst case, the top managers see the team as the management group only. Hourly associates, whether they are non-union or union, are not considered part of the team even though 90% of all value-adding processes, (activities the customer is willing to pay for and where profits are created) are completed by this group.
In a recent visit to a small company, it was suggested to the CEO that it was appropri­ate to get the company's associates' opinion on a particular WCE issue. This CEO then proceeded to schedule a meeting with his 22 managers, almost as if the people out in the factory didn't exist. It was disappointing.

Human Nature and Change
People have a natural human reaction to change which is shown in Figure 2-1. Good two-way communication about the change, which must include how it will affect the company's custom­ers, the company, and the individual associate, can cause interest to begin in the change (bypass­ing rumors, fear, resistance and resentment). Left under communicated with no scheduled and di­rect follow-up communication, change can cause rumors, fear, resistance, and resentment. These organizational cancers can be very costly, in both financial and human terms, to an organization.

Human Nature

Figure 2.1
People can embrace change in terms of inter­est, enthusiasm, and excitement only if there are high levels of two-way communication in the or­ganization. Two-way communication can drive fear out of organizations. While a sense of urgency is essential, fear can be paralyzing.

When the WCE implementation change is an­nounced, it must be followed immediately by (and in this order of importance): 
  • Management is visible and available to thoroughly discuss the change on all shifts for the first few days after the change an­nouncement.
  • Follow-up meetings to discuss questions. The real issue is that not all the questions will come out during the change announce­ment meeting. People need time to think about it. Family members will have ques­tions that require answers. Left unan­swered, all these questions will be given answers in the "rumor mill." The rumor mill, which never seems to create favorable answers, supports answers which heighten fear, resistance, and resentment. The key is to provide enough timely communication to put the rumor mill out of business. This has the effect of bypassing the confusion (ru­mors), fear, resistance, and resentment parts of the change continuum. People go from change announcement to interest in the change.
  • Telephone hot lines, check stuffers repeat­ing the details of the change meeting. Ques­tions submitted through idea or suggestion boxes are other ways of improving commu­nication on this issue and in general.

Communicate, communicate, communicate. Communication is empowering. Communication eliminates wasteful human mental activity: ru­mors, fear, resistance, resentment, and substitutes the value-added mental activities of understand­ing, knowledge, focus, and motivation.

Unfortunately, most managers don't under­stand the power of communication and its role in teamwork, and therefore, they under communi­cate. In most organizations, this under communi­cation is not by 40, 50, or 75%,  but by magni­tudes of 500 or 1000%.

Communication, Teamwork, & Productivity

There are four elements that must be in place for teamwork to occur in an organization. These elements, in order, are:

1. High levels of two-way communication throughout the organization. Communication can dramatically increase productivity by keeping ev­eryone aware of the mission, vision, goals, and strategy of the organization. In World Class com­panies, top managers spend as much as 40% of their time communicating this vital information to their organization.
2. Team members with diverse backgrounds. Diversity helps teams approach problems from a variety of angles, thus ensuring an effective, ro­bust solution. Diversity also means hourly and salary associates can be on the same team.
3. Common purpose, motivated by mission. A strongly developed vision and mission for the or­ganization helps all team members make the right decisions and saves time in the decision-making process. One has only to ask "Does this decision support the goals of the organization?"

4. Common goals, common measurements. Teamwork is enhanced when all team members understand the goals of the team and the organi­zation. Common measurements, understood by ev­eryone, are used to assess the progress made.
Several universities have done studies on what factors in the workplace produce the highest lev­els of productivity. These studies discovered that only two factors were required to produce the high­est levels of workplace productivity. When high levels of job satisfaction and high levels of two-way communication existed, productivity was at it peak. A chart, showing the results of these stud­ies is shown in Figure 2-2.
How do we define these factors? High levels of two-way communication in the studies agrees with the definition above. It means that everyone knows what's going on in the organization, and they feel comfortable and confident with their organizational knowledge. Rumors about the company are elimi­nated or at least minimized.

Productivity Studies
Factors Affecting Workplace Productivity
Figures 2-2

High levels of "job satisfaction" means that the associate or associates are in their "dream" job. If they could pick any job, it would be the one they have.
Here's the rub. Other studies of the American workforce found that only 17% of American work­ers are in their "dream job." This means that the highest levels of workplace productivity can be achieved with only 17% of the workforce. So what do we do for the other 83% of our workforce?
Most managers get this part wrong. When given the choice of picking what level of factors determine the second highest level of productivity (affecting 83% of the workforce), managers gener­ally pick low levels of two-way communication and high levels of job satisfaction, which is actually the third level of productivity. Why does this oc­cur? Primarily because managers find it easy to blame the people: "They applied for a job they re­ally didn't like, how were we supposed to know?", instead of understanding that 98% of the prob­lems in business are related to the management created "systems," and look at the systems first (the system of communication, in this example).
High levels of two-way communication help create teamwork and improve company produc­tivity with no capital equipment investment. Who said we needed new equipment and a new IT sys­tem to be competitive?
Next issue: Lack of Communication (Part II of III) - The Power of Communication - A Real life Example
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The Lean Leader Coach - Implementing New Ideas

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 this issue of The Lean Leader Coach, we will examine the topic of implementing new ideas.  While it is easy to believe that getting good ideas from associates is the more difficult part of the process, how ideas are implemented also impacts how many more good ideas are generated. 
Not long after I became a Focused Factory Plant Manager, one of my team members approached me with a problem. It seemed he did not have the right tool for an assembly task and this was slowing down his production considerably. He showed me the process and described what he needed. I called a local tool distributor who showed up at our door the very same day. I looked at the tools he felt best met my description and, since I had studied the process already, a selection was made. I was able to take the tool immediately and have the distributor bill us. The cost was not significant. 
Walking back into the plant with the tool, I was rather proud of myself. An associate had defined a need and I had met it in record time. I could hardly wait to see the amazed and grateful look on the associate's face when I presented him with the prize. 
To my shock, the associate was disappointed in my selection and put it aside. He complained it did not fit right, turn correctly, hold firmly, etc. Instead of being happy, the little ingrate was complaining! (At least that was my assessment.) Fortunately, the tool supplier was still on the premises and I was able to bring him to the associate's work station. I introduced the two of them and, because I was still irritated, left them alone to discuss the issue. My last words to the associate were "get the tool you need." 
To my surprise, the tool he ultimately chose was the first one - the one that "wouldn't work" for a litany of reasons. After assessing the entire inventory available, he selected the same tool I had.  The supplier had demonstrated a few techniques making the tool easier to use and now he was committed to using it. The associate later thanked me for letting him make the selection. 
The lesson for the Lean Leader is this: People don't like being victims of our improvement effort - they want to be part of the improvement effort. Despite my pure motives (help the associate, not take him off the job, etc.), my method was all wrong. When associates identify a problem and a supervisor solves it, then the associate understands he is not considered capable of solving the problem. This, in fact, trains associates to NOT look for solutions and just bring the issue to the boss. Associates supported in solving work related problems will almost always develop more creative and successful solutions than a manager could devise. Lean Leaders must guide associates through the problem solving process and then let them solve the problem. 
In the next issue, we will explore some additional mindsets leaders must change to support a Lean organization. 

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WCM Associates Lean Activities Schedule 
Training is not a cost!
It is an investment in your organization's 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

Certified Lean Facilitator Training

Milwaukee, WI


This standard Certified Lean Facilitator training session will be hosted by Snap-on Tools in Milwaukee, WI.
You can attend just one class or start the journey to becoming a Certified Lean Facilitator by attending all 3 weeks.
Session dates are (2010):
Week 1 = January 11th
Week 2 = February 15th
Week 3 = March 15th
For more information and pricing, Click Here
For scheduling call Kelly at (260) 637-8064 or email kelly@wcmfg.com

Certified Lean Facilitator Training

Appleton, WI 


This standard Certified Lean Facilitator training session will be hosted by Goodwill Industries in Appleton, WI  
You can attend just one class or start the journey to becoming a Certified Lean Facilitator by attending all 3 weeks.
Session dates are (2010):
Week 1 = January 11th
Week 2 = February 8th
Week 3 = March 8th
For scheduling, call Kelly at (260) 637-8064 or e-mail kelly@wcmfg.com
For more information and pricing, Click Here
Next Edition:
(All Editions in the Future will be sent on Thursdays)
  • Why Lean Failures Occur - Reason #2: Lack of Communication (Part II of III)  
  • The Lean Leader Coach - "Walking the Talk" 
Larry Rubrich
WCM Associates LLC
© 2009 WCM Associates
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