Attempting to implement and sustain any new plan, including Lean, in a factory or even an office can meet a lot of resistance or bitterness, depending on the climate of your work environment and the attitudes of your employees or coworkers. Management almost always needs to be involved and educated on both the production processes of your particular workplace, the complexities of the new system, and anticipate where the two will (or won’t) mesh.
Tim McMahon, on his “A Lean Journey” blog, offers some Lean Tips based on his own work lean manufacturing experience. Here are three tips he feels are important for anyone trying to start a lean program:
Be clear in your communication
This is important in so many ways. People tend to need to understand the goals and the full scope of your program before they can immerse themselves in what some may see as a completely different direction than they may have been going.
Eliminate barriers, restrictions and layers of protocol.
McMahon is saying to KISS, or “Keep it Simple, Stupid.” The more complex and involved the process, the less motivated workers will be to implement the plan.
Allow employees to suggest better ways of getting their jobs done.
The concept that those who work the closest to the product may have some of the best ideas for ways to improve the process or the quality is at the heart of kaizen, a major component of the lean way of thinking.