The Lean Starting Line [Lessons from the Road]

by Jamie Flinchbaugh on 10-02-14

It’s time for another installment of Lessons from the Road, my column for IndustryWeek. In the next few installments, I will talk about the lean roadmap, or how to handle the change management of the lean journey.

This month, I am talking about the beginning of the journey, The Lean Starting Line. Here is an excerpt:

3. “Quick wins” doesn’t mean the easy stuff. It is beneficial to focus on quick wins for three reasons. First, the money or time you gain in savings can be reinvested in continuous improvement. Second, it keeps people interested and engaged. And third, it starts generating learning cycles to build capability and culture.

But quick wins is often confused with doing easy stuff. Organizations do 5S because they think it’s easy. It’s not easy to do right. I saw one organization put kanban into place in the office supply closet and call it a success. Work on something meaningful, even hard, because that’s where the benefits are found. And that’s where the learning is generated.

Just doing lean is not worth it. But doing lean in a meaningful way is worth every ounce of effort.

You can read the entire column here.

As always, I appreciate your comments and questions, which you can post here or send me by email.