We all know the dangers of fad diets. Just as yo-yo diets have negative consequences on other organs of the body, taking the same approach to lean manufacturing has the same effect on other departments within the organization. Think how reducing excess fat and waste affects other parts to build a healthy system and contributes to overall well-being.
It is important to take a balanced approach to business health just as personal health.
Lean is only part of the picture.
1. Take long-term approach. Boot camps are good to get primed, but long-term commitment to continuous improvement is critical to real success.
2. Ditch the seasonal approach. Forget looking good next quarter; slimming down for that big event, and sending systems into chaos just to realize your efforts only make matters worse.
3. Channel energy. Make sure strategic goals are realistic and not in conflict. Picking the same list of goals year over year won’t achieve them simply because you have a new coach or think you’ve learned from past mistakes.
4. Don’t fake it. There’s only so much you can hide with attire, VSM reports and window dressing, you may believe you look good but most can see behind the façade and masking internal problems only makes them worse.
5. Buy fresh & local. LCC (Lowest Cost Country) does not equal Life-Cycle Cost! Support shorter logistic paths to reduce lead-times and collaborate with customers. Design and engineer globally using technology, but grow where customers buy. Reduce transport throughout the enterprise not just at the cellular level.
6. Get an ample supply of water. When in drought move out. While not a traditional tenant of lean, more and more companies are finding that lack of water is causing production and supply chain problems.
7. Eliminate toxins. Just like preventing pollution and controlling hazardous substances on the environmental front - avoiding, contain and eliminate venomous attitudes and behaviors is vital for success.
8. Watch for signs of bulimia. If you notice a cycle of repeatedly buying and purging, get a prescription for Heijunka.
9. Don’t try to cut your way to growth.Financially driven executives without foresight may use dangerous tactics that starve the organization, in fear that investment will be seen as flab.
10. Monitor overall health. Just as athletes have strategic goals (e.g., win a race, climb a mountain, and swim a river) they also need to monitor their health stats to make sure they are on track. Use visual management to see progress towards strategic goals as well as KPIs to determine what needs to be done and set action plans. Fix what you can independently and call in professional help for aid with major issues.
11. Diet + Exercise = Results. We all know that reducing intake is only part of the equation. To really get in shape it takes physical work and coaching helps. To be lean managers need to make the effort to hit the floor – which can be just as hard and equally as rewarding as hitting the gym.
12. Lastly, unless you are in the business to be lean (e.g., fitness trainer, lean consultant) don’t let it consume your overall purpose. While you will need to allocate resources and make a true commitment just like any exercise program, you can lose focus on other important aspects if you center too much attention on the new fitness regime.