Building a Strong Lean Foundation [Lessons from the Road]

by Jamie Flinchbaugh on 11-30-14

Lessons promoOrganizational transformation is a tricky challenge. Many, if not most, of the questions I received have to do with how to transform an organization. And a small organization is just as challenging as a large organization, but for different reasons.

In the last installment of Lessons from the Road, I addressed some key issues in starting your lean journey in The Lean Starting Line. In this installment, I explore how to build a strong foundation on which you can build a long-term journey. In Building a Strong Lean Foundation, I address training, learning, and focus. Here is an excerpt:

At the beginning of the Chrysler lean journey, I deployed one of our first learning labs. It was focused on 120 people (which was still too big) out of 5,000 at the site. The objective was twofold: prove to ourselves the business application, and prove to the employees the people benefit. Over eight months, we engaged those 120 people to implement over 900 ideas. We achieved the business result: Downtime per week went from 240 minutes to 4 minutes. And the people engagement was so high, not only did all the high seniority people bid to work in the area, but the union leader in the area went to his union hall and encouraged further investment in the Chrysler Operating System.

You can read the rest of the column here. I will continue to explore issues of lean transformation in future issues, and as always, you can always ask me questions or suggest topics.