Authentic Lean Transformation
Missing the real essence towards excellence?
Lean transformation, as developed by Japanese companies like Toyota, Bridgestone, and others is mostly a far cry from most so-called Lean, CI, or Six Sigma companies and many proponents /consultants. Most of these focus on quality improvements, cost savings, waste reduction, process streamlining, improving customer value, minimizing waste & just in time inventory, etc. – all good Lean concepts, towards an objective of excellence however, implementing these yet missing the essence of lean and the sustainable force of culture behind it, is mostly neglected. These mostly lack sustainable continuous improvement as the principles of lean through a Leadership driven cultural change are often completely neglected in favour of training programs, tools, and projects. Instead, a lean journey should be developed based on:
Vision & Purpose
The unique skill of transforming traditional organizations into a Lean culture model is our specialty, a skill very rare in existence as even most of today’s Toyota experts never learned their skill from such beginnings. In contrast to most, our skills were developed whilst under the mentorship of multiple top Japanese Bridgestone sensei in transforming a legacy Firestone organization into a truly lean Bridgestone model.
We assist organizations to gain a deeper understanding of the organization and its True North longer-term big-picture vision. Developing a Learning organization (Learn to continuously understand your people and process better), understand the gaps in the Vision, and then develop the strategies to close the gaps using strategy deployment best practices like Hoshin Kanri (a methodology developed by Bridgestone and later followed by Toyota and others).
For our offering process for implementing lean in more detail see the Approach page. Our main focus in interventions is to work with all levels to identify the roadblocks standing between them and the entity’s Vision, develop the approach to find solutions, and overcome these in a systematic and structured process.
Also see our proven expertise over time which include Global Entities like Bridgestone, Fonterra, and CSL amongst others.
Respect for People followed by Respect for Resources.
The first of these two typically get very little if any attention with the focus more exclusively on the second. Instead, Lean transformations require a cultural change not possible without the first and not skipped in preference to a quick solution and fix and thereby resulting in an ever-evasive sustainable cultural solution.
Continuous improvement (kaizen) by following the Deming model of PDCA (Plan Do Check Act) needs to become a daily activity by everyone in the organisation.
To achieve sustainability exceeds beyond a project or the next 3 years, but rather a phenomenon accelerating over time beyond up to half-century (as in the case of the two mentioned example companies) and requires much more than implementing tools and improvement projects. True Lean needs to go substantially deeper. This is primarily driven strategically by the Executive and expects everyone in the organisation to continuously learn and make improvements.
We, therefore, work closely with all levels to transfer knowledge and understanding, develop the right thinking, learn to see, and understand, most of all how to listen to people and empower them to drive change at every level and every individual in the business. Learn to understand the obstacles to growth, how to overcome these, and establish unhindered flow.
To operationalise Lean into a self-sustaining culture requires that an organisation Learn to learn. ‘Deep understanding’ is the ultimate objective we are focused on achieving within our client organisations. It is not about implementing a program well and then the results will roll in, but a continuous approach delivering sustained all-inclusive cultural change.
Key to this learning and the cultural shift it brings about is the coaching style deployed between all levels but especially the skillful and deliberate interaction between the Executive and Frontline staff.