Operations Payoff

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To Do Lean Or To Be Lean?

Being Lean achieves world-class performance. Doing Lean often only results in the deck chairs being reorganized just before the ship sinks.

Many companies spend months (if not years) doing Lean. In too many cases, they don’t achieve the results they set out to obtain, and the Lean effort slowly fades away. In fact, 70% or more of companies fail to get the results they wanted from their Lean initiatives. With the plethora of MEPs, Lean consultants and books available, why is that?

Doing Lean includes the tactical activities of training, implementing tools, shop floor and warehouse improvement projects, Kaizen events, and score keeping. If those activities aren’t driven by your operations strategy and company vision, there’s no alignment with your business objectives, and the ground level activities don’t get results or keep the interest of executives.

Being Lean

Being Lean is a whole different thing: it’s the context within which Lean activities occur. Being Lean provides the strategy for the Lean efforts, which help target activities to produce the greatest and most meaningful results. Being Lean changes the way products are designed, includes partnerships, eliminates superfluous activities, and changes the culture of the company. Being Lean provides breakthrough results.

An example is the implementation of a Kanban system. Kanban is a signal or trigger to do something, often associated with the movement and acquisition of materials. In the doing environment of Lean, safety stock and minimum order quantities are included in the calculation of Kanban size, and should be. But safety stock is a waste, and minimum order quantities optimize supplier performance at the expense of your company’s performance.

If you are doing Lean, once the calculation is set, the system is executed with good results, but safety stock and MOQs continue to impact overall performance. If you are being Lean, efforts to eliminate both of these issues take place, allowing you to achieve breakthrough results including turns over 12, 99.8% service levels, 20% annual materials cost reductions and more.

Wouldn’t you rather be than do?

© 2016 – Rick Pay – All Rights Reserved

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