Many companies fall into the trap of ‘doing’ Lean or other business improvement activities as opposed to becoming (or ‘being’) a ‘Lean company’. If Lean has not been integrated into the fabric of your organization with accountability for its ongoing success residing in the line managers, chances are you are ‘doing’ Lean and not ‘being’ Lean.
The Formula for Success
BE x DO = HAVE
If you want to HAVE a company that truly benefits from an integrated continuous improvement program that drives your bottom line, then your leadership team will need to work on their BEing, not just on DOing more.
This work can be extremely rewarding for all involved and was perhaps best described by W. Edwards Deming is his System of Profound Knowledge and 14 Points of Management listed below along with helpful links for deeper reading direct from The Deming Institute.
1. Create constancy of purpose toward improvement of product and service, with the aim to become competitive and to stay in business, and to provide jobs.
2. Adopt the new philosophy. We are in a new economic age. Western management must awaken to the challenge, must learn their responsibilities, and take on leadership for change.
3. Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality. Eliminate the need for inspection on a mass basis by building quality into the product in the first place.
5. Improve constantly and forever the system of production and service, to improve quality and productivity, and thus constantly decrease costs.
7. Institute leadership. The aim of supervision should be to help people and machines and gadgets to do a better job. Supervision of management is in need of overhaul, as well as supervision of production workers.
8. Drive out fear, so that everyone may work effectively for the company.
9. Break down barriers between departments. People in research, design, sales, and production must work as a team, to foresee problems of production and in use that may be encountered with the product or service.
10. Eliminate slogans, exhortations, and targets for the workforce asking for zero defects and new levels of productivity. Such exhortations only create adversarial relationships, as the bulk of the causes of low quality and low productivity belong to the system and thus lie beyond the power of the workforce.
Eliminate work standards (quotas) on the factory floor. Substitute leadership.
Eliminate management by objective. Eliminate management by numbers, numerical goals. Substitute leadership.
11. Remove barriers that rob the hourly worker of his right to pride of workmanship. The responsibility of supervisors must be changed from sheer numbers to quality.
12. Remove barriers that rob people in management and in engineering of their right to pride of workmanship. This means, inter alia, abolishment of the annual or merit rating and of management by objective.
13. Institute a vigorous program of education and self-improvement.
14. Put everybody in the company to work to accomplish the transformation. The transformation is everybody’s job.
Integrating continuous improvement into the fabric of your organization can be fun, energizing and highly rewarding for all involved.