Leading Lean Means Walking the Walk
If your vision for keeping your manufacturing company lean involves drawing up a plan and then telling your floor supervisors to make it happen, good luck. Lean leadership is a hands-on value proposition — one you can’t overlook if you want your manufacturing operations to go lean.
Your role as top executive of a lean operation is to be an agent of change. You need to be revolutionary, rather than evolutionary. But the revolution won’t happen unless you teach your employees, from management to maintenance, to become leaders with you.
To do that, examine how your company operates today. If its focus is on satisfying the chain of command and designing additional policies and procedures to address any problem, you have a bureaucracy. Correct this by using lean strategies yourself to demonstrate their value. Here are some ways to start:
One point to emphasize throughout the lean process is that lean requires everyone to look at value from your customers’ point of view. Waste is anything the customer doesn’t want to pay for. A product isn’t high quality because it’s difficult and costly to produce; it’s quality because it provides value to customers.
Add Value Through Leadership
The road to excellence in lean manufacturing can be never-ending. If you excel in lean leadership, though, you can make it much less bumpy. That’s a value-added service.
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