10 Missing Words from the Lean Manufacturing Language
You hear the question every week…. What is lean manufacturing? You also get many different answers…. It’s a philosophy, it’s a set of tools to remove waste, it’s about adding value to your customer, it’s a set of principles, it’s a mindset, it’s a culture, etc. I think a lot of the confusion is created by the language we use to describe lean manufacturing.
1. Define Lean Manufacturing. Decide on your own definition for lean manufacturing with your team. Think how lean manufacturing will give your organisation a strategic advantage. Share the definition with everyone and keep this as your guide for the journey.
Example Lean Manufacturing Definition: “To achieve a leading position in the marketplace with a culture that is continuously striving to improve personal and business performance.”
During the development of our Achieving Excellence Model™ I have recognised a number of words that are missing from the lean manufacturing language, which if understood and utilised would have a huge impact on progress. Add these words to your team’s lean manufacturing vocabulary and notice the impact on your improvement journey:
- Alignment: Have a clear Vision, understand your place in the market and align hearts & minds with your true north. Align people with your strategic direction.
- Values: Build a team around shared Values. Values drive our beliefs and behaviour. People who believe the same things overcome adversity and achieve more together.
- Competency: Get the right people on the bus in the right seats that are competent. Your strategic direction should determine the competency requirements for today and the future. Do everything you can to develop and change your people, or change your people.
- Co-create: Involve people in decision making and allow them to be masters of their own destiny. People will own and take responsibility for what they create.
- Discipline: You will only achieve excellence with a culture built around discipline. Lead by example and be clear on standards.
- Data: Speak with data, speak with data and speak with data. Move away from opinion based decision making and speak with data.
- Behaviour: Be clear about the behaviours you expect from people and the boundaries. Focus on the current behaviours of people and not on old thinking or past experience.
- Learning: Be a learning organisation and treat problems as an opportunity to learn. Allow people to fail and learn from the experience. Let go of being the expert and allow people to learn.
- Feedback: Encourage feedback. Create an open and honest environment where people can trust each other. How can we improve ourselves without feedback? This should apply to all. Management included.
- Potential: Create an environment where people can reach their full potential. Develop your people to the best they can be. Look after them and they will look after your customers.
I hope these words have given you some food for thought. Remember, decide on a lean manufacturing definition that suits your organisation and create the future and the common language together.
P.S. As you can see from the example you don’t need Japanese buzz words to be a lean organisation.