Why do so many Lean implementations leave executives with an empty feeling? I’ve spoken to a number of people in various types of organizations over the past few months who’ve been trying to implement Lean, and it hasn’t produced the sustained results they’d hoped for. They’re not alone; according to several surveys, Lean “fails” as much as 70% of the time.
For Lean to provide rich, long-lasting results, it needs to have a higher purpose. That can be growth, profitability, cash flow, innovation, or cultural enhancement. Lean can’t be successful if it’s just another tool to improve productivity. It needs a context or framework: the higher purpose.
Does your company have a higher purpose framework that provides context for Lean and other improvement methods? If not, you may find that in a couple of years your company’s Lean performance is declining. Define your higher purpose first, and then determine which tools and techniques to use to get there.
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