How to Deploy Lean in 10 Steps

How to Deploy Lean in 10 Steps

By Discovery Lean Six Sigma

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It’s important to understand the challenges typically faced by companies in the United States and other Western countries when trying to implement Lean.

In the West, one management approach is to “fail fast.” This typically means putting in some planning, putting the plan into place and then redoing whatever doesn’t work. This has led to achievement in some fields, but it doesn’t take a consistent approach to success.

Under Eastern management philosophies such as Lean, planning is central to any change. The quality is on the front end of the process, due to the extended amount of planning done before taking any action.

Common Implementation Mistakes

Lack of planning can lead to common mistakes. One of those is not planning for the implementation of the plan. All the planning in the world will not help if a proper process for implementation is not in place, as explained by Dr. Robert Elliott in this video.

There are other common mistakes to avoid, including:

  • Setting expectations for Lean too high or setting goals that are outside the scope of the skills or control of the implementation team
  • Losing sight of overall business goals
  • Playing politics when implementing Lean
  • Limited executive buy-in
  • “Concrete heads” in management may refuse to believe or participate in Lean implementation
  • Project teams that do not include a diverse set of people with the skills needed for success

It’s Called “Continuous Improvement”

Using Lean methodology, an organization does not suddenly have the magic ability to put a plan in place and then walk away, job finished. Built into the very idea of Lean is the fact that it is a continuous process improvement methodology.

That means that whatever is implemented must be measured for effectiveness and then adjusted as needed. That process must continue indefinitely. Business is not static, and neither are the management methods to stay on top of the game.

Not continuously evaluating and improving a process is one of the biggest mistakes in Lean Six Sigma and can lead to the methodology never working properly for organizations.

10 Steps to Implement Lean

With those challenges in mind, here are the 10 steps to properly implement Lean, according to Villanova University.

  1. Form and Develop a Steering Committee – A balanced group of stakeholders who collectively understand all aspects of the business are needed on a steering committee. The committee will review the initial assessment and oversee training in Lean fundamentals, which includes team building and problem-solving skills.
  1. Establish a More Detailed “Current State” Picture – The steering committee looks at what the current state of operations are, using tools such as Value Stream Mapping to find out where there are issues in core processes.
  1. Establish Clearly Articulated Vision – To provide leadership, a clear vision of what the organization plans to accomplish with Lean needs to be communicated to everyone involved.
  1. Establish High-Level Objectives for Year 1 – As with Hoshin Kanri Planning, long-range plans for Lean implementation should be broken into smaller chunks. Establish goals for the first year, with three to five key issues to track and improve in the first year.
  1. Identify Initial Projects – These can vary depending on the needs of the organization, but typically involves tools such as Kaizen projects, All these projects should include Lean training for the workforce, the necessary resources to complete the project and realistic, measurable outcomes.
  1. Identify Risks to Success – In this step, brainstorming among stakeholders takes place to establish what the risks are that could prevent success, usually by looking at information from the detailed “current state” assessment.
  1. Establish a Risk-Management Countermeasure Plan – Establish a plan that includes countermeasures to minimize the risks to success.
  1. Develop a Communications Plan – This covers a lot of ground, including what to communicate, who to communicate to, how often to communicate and who will oversee communication. In some cases, a team may be formed to handle communication issues as part of the implementation strategy.
  1. Develop Deployment Plan – This covers the timeline for action during the entire first year. The plan is, to a certain extent, fluid in that it will change as new facts and challenges present themselves. Part of the plan should include resources needed for plan success, which may include a fully trained Lean Sensei.
  1. Commence Implementation – Start with a kickoff meeting with the key stakeholders. Begin the training process and chartering of initial projects. Establish the measurements that will be used in all phases of the project to determine success or failure.

It’s possible to learn from every experience, whether it’s success or failure. By practicing the continuous improvement philosophy of Lean, outcomes can lead to identifying opportunities for future breakthroughs and success.

The post How to Deploy Lean in 10 Steps appeared first on Six Sigma Daily.

By: James LoPresti
Posted: November 1, 2018, 11:00 am

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