6 Managerial Keys to Improvement Success
Register for the Continuous Improvement Conference April 1- April 4, 2012.
The success that printing companies have in using Lean manufacturing concepts depends, largely, on the effectiveness of their managers. Here are six steps your managers can take to speed the pace of your company’s improvement:
Key 1. Understand what is meant by improvement.
Most managers seek competitive advantage through operational improvement when the better approach is to seek Lean improvement. Lean improvement is not about the work, but, rather, about eliminating wastes—things that get in the way of efficient work. These wastes—such as waiting—add time and cost and no customer value. You should become familiar with the eight common wastes.
Over 95% of the elapsed time between paying and getting paid is attributable to these wastes. Unless managers are trained in what to look for, these wastes may be invisible. Managers should first visit the work area with an open mind to identify improvement opportunities. It is also a good idea to visit a few organizations that have well-developed improvement systems, speak to your peers, and learn from their experiences.
Key 2. Demonstrate Passionate Commitment.
Passion for your work will not only drive you forward, but it is also conveyed to your employees. For managers who see and understand the opportunity for improvement, it’s easy to be passionate. Employees respond to your example of passionate commitment. Remember—your passion can’t be delegated. If you are a no-show on the floor, don’t expect a commitment from employees.
Key 3. Learn the Tools.
When both managers and employees understand the meaning of improvement, it creates an opportunity to apply the “how-to” or the tools of Lean Manufacturing. These are the means to improvement that will work in any organization. Before attempting the know-how, be sure you know and can articulate why these tools are needed. An employee may initially respond to a tool like 5S with objections. Most objections are just cautionary—that is, employees need to know more before accepting a new idea.