The "Just in Time" concept of the 80's has been perceived as culturally different, see misfit for western companies, because it essentially came from Japan. During the 90's, it is mainly the methodologies that have been pushed forward (5S, SMED, TPM, Kanban, ...) Starting with this period, the Lean has often appeared as a toolbox, quick to apply, without major risks and mostly it's success seemed un doubtable.
Why wouldn't we succeed to implement something as simple as that ? Did others succeed?
So, others have actually tried, but there was very little success over time. And this is not the fault of a very prolific communication on the topic with numerous experts and "guru's" from all genres, which have worked on the dissemination of these approaches. Even TOYOTA disseminates it's tools and methods to whomever wants to understand them from the beginning of it's industrial adventure.
Then where does the problem come from ? From the fact that through Lean Tools and Methods, we see only the visible part of the iceberg, ie 20-30% of the problem !!! Therefore, there's not a major risk in talking about the tools (the « hard ») today's at everyone's reach (books, Internet, ..).
On the other side, the competitive advantage will come from the Management of Human Resources (the « soft »)
Our 18 years of practice allow us to bring a few answers.
First of all, the Lean arrives very often in the company through the Industrial Functions that attempt to "graft" around the Tools & Methods, thinking that the rest will follow naturally. In reality, the under-performance, compared to the expected results, the non durability of the actions, see their rejections, may appear fast enough and if the culture, organization and management ways change associated are not applied in parallel, at ALL the levels of the hierarchy and especially within the Managing Committees.
It's almost obvious, but it's good to remind that the Lean is difficult to sustain in environments where managers and organizations are unstable. The definition and following of a vision and long term strategy are actually fundamental for the success of the Lean conversion of a company.
Then, the apparent simplicity of the Methods & Tools used is one of the main pitfalls of the Lean. In a XXI-st century, where the Sciences, Techniques and Information Systems seem to manage Complexity, to be launched in the Lean and to try to reduce this complexity is often perceived as a simple manner to respond to complex matters. The result is the de motivation of the teams that search for performance only within Technological Innovation. There also we have noticed a distorted understanding of the Lean , because to Simplify and to Reason has become a prerequisite for Strategic Innovation and Sustainable Development.
Finally, to engage in the Lean adventure is before all a managerial challenge.
It means to deeply transform the company and it's management ways, to progressively modify it's genes without denying it's history, in order to achieve new daily work methods, on an individual and most of all collective plan.
The AL Consulting team has forged during these 18 years of experience an expertise to allow you to succeed in your transformation towards the Lean Management.
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Every manager wishes to have a system that would allow it's company to Conceive and Manufacture Better, Faster and Cheaper.