I got the idea for this post by reading the back of a Visine® bottle. There are 5 important “Ins” when it comes to bringing about a lean transformation:
Inure means to accustom to hardship. At the outset of a lean transformation people are typically inured to all sorts of daily problems. They get used to the constant fire-fighting associated with processes that don’t work right, and they come to accept this as normal. Often times it is very difficult to convince people to stop and call for help as soon as an abnormality is detected. But doing this is critical to success.
Inculcate means to teach persistently and constantly. For people not used to it the concept of standard work can be very hard to grasp. And even if it’s not, the mere task of breaking old habits can be very challenging. Constant, persistent coaching is needed in the beginning as people transition to a new way of doing things.
Instill means to add drop by drop. When a system is in place that makes problems visible, people must have the ability to solve those problems. That ability isn’t easily taught and learned. It has to be developed in people (as in oneself) over time and with experience. Each problem solved slowly builds the skills and knowledge necessary to solve future ones.
Ingrain means to implant deeply and firmly. This also occurs as a result of time and exposure. As people practice kaizen, a culture of continuous improvement will begin to become ingrained in the organization.
Invest means to put something in, in the hope of gaining a return. Making people before products means investing the necessary time, effort, and resources into developing the people that will ultimately determine your success or failure. The investment in people will pay big dividends in the ability to better produce.
The best barometer for lean success is the effective development of people. In a true learning organization, your people will be able to:
Outperform your expectations.
Outstrip performance goals.
Outmatch any problem.
Outpace even the most aggressive improvement targets.
Outshine their counterparts in other organizations.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
LEI’s great book Learning to See: Value Stream Mapping to Add Value and Eliminate MUDA does an excellent job of explaining how to handle parallel processes in a value stream map. However it does not cover the topic of “loop-backs”. How do you handle a situation where products move from one process cell to another and then back again? In working with teams I’ve found that the natural tendency is for people to try to draw arrows right-to-left to show a backward flow of material. This really clutters up the map and makes the timeline calculations at the bottom incredibly difficult.
This type of thinking is spatially oriented. Blocks on the map represent physical cells that are unique and fixed; and parts move to, from, between, around, and over them. In order to have a clean, usable map I think you need to have people think temporally, rather than spatially. Products flow from left to right in time. So, if a given product moves through a particular cell more than once in the flow, you simply draw it as many times as necessary. This can throw people for a loop, because it makes it look like you have more cells/resources/equipment than you really do. But in terms of being able to understand lead time I think this is the best approach.
I’m curious if anyone else has thoughts on making value stream maps meaningful for complex processes.
Posted by Evan Durant at 5:05 PM