I am sure that at some point in your life you have heard this saying. Perfect is the enemy of good. That is especially true when you are beginning your Lean journey as an organization or as someone who has been tasked with driving the Lean effort within your organization.
While striving for perfection is a great goal in manufacturing and office processes- 0 defects, 100% on-time deliveries, 0 dropped calls, etc. the companies that are close to achieving those goals had to start somewhere. That is the key point- they had to START.
I have seen organizations put off Rapid Improvement Events because they were too busy, or it’s not the right time of the year or it’s too close to month-end. We need to collect more data, we need to make sure this person can clear their schedule, I need to read another book to learn how to do this….
These are all some form of I can’t…because the situation isn’t perfect. Guess what- time keeps marching on. Your company still has opportunities for improvement that aren’t getting addressed. You still have broken processes that are costing time, money, and friction with customers.
The reality is, it will never be the perfect time to have a Rapid Improvement Event or to conduct a Value Stream Mapping event or conduct Lean training. But to get better you have to start. Action creates momentum and momentum creates results. Not to mention the employee engagement and excitement that momentum creates.
That is why Lean is often referred to as Continuous Improvement. You are never done. You are never complete. That is why Deming developed the Deming wheel which states Plan, Do, Check, Act. The key concept being plan to the best of your ability, DO something, check if you received the results you were expecting and if not do it again.
Action is the key to getting better every day and it more than likely won’t be perfect but that’s okay we are getting “gooder” and doing that consistently will lead to great results for you and your organization.
I hope that you take action! That’s why I developed a simple four-step framework that can easily be adopted by any organization of any size within any industry.
After thirty years of seeing companies struggle to get better because they get in their own way, I wanted to provide a roadmap. Follow the yellow brick road- in this case, the Lean Game Plan and you will get better without a lot of brain damage and waiting until the stars align to have a better business.
Step 1-Define your Vision.
Develop key KPI’s to measure performance. Create Value Stream Maps to identify waste opportunities. Establish your Lean Game Plan of Rapid Improvement Events to eliminate the waste.
Step 2- Conduct employee training camps.
Conduct Lean training for everyone in the organization.
Step 3- Deploy the Lean Game Plan
Conduct the scheduled Rapid Improvement Events (RIE). Work to eliminate the waste in your processes. Have employees report-out at the end of their RIE’s.
Step 4- Half Time Adjustments
Measure your improvement activity results and make changes if necessary. Similar to making half-time adjustments, don’t be afraid to make changes to your Lean Game Plan.
As always, it is an honor to serve you and I hope that you and your company are getting better every day!
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