Volume 1 / Issue 11 / August 15, 2016
Worthy tips for improvement
Four leadership considerations
It has been inspiring to see how proud and excited people become about implementing 5-S or Workplace Organization that actually turns a facility around. In addition to always having a camera nearby, here are a few simple tips from leaders.
1: Lead by example
The practical definition of Lean Leadership is, ‘The ability to generate followers.’ Such a management style includes lead-by-example behavior. They will not allow 5-S to proceed in their jurisdiction until all managers have ‘5-S’d’ their own offices. Leaders who gather followers have these two skills: 1) They have vision of the future desired state for their employees to see. 2) They have the ability to communicate that vision in terms their followers understand, use daily and are motivated by.
2: Use a time limit
In 2004, Allen Bradley (Rockwell Automation), Gerrie Electric and Mancor Industries applied ‘time targets’ to focus thinking. As an example, Mike, in Mancor’s maintenance centre, organized his facility so that anyone from outside the company could find anything in 3 minutes and anyone from inside the company could find anything within one minute …without Mike even being present. His challenge was to organize his shop and put in place the excellent visual indicators that could make it happen. Here’s how he did it:
3: Lights out test
Here is a novel example one enterprising company. (Note: If you make knives or other dangerous material this would not be a recommended test. However, it’s a pretty neat idea!). Once everything is in its place and stable the company in question turned out the lights to see how long it takes to find one’s tools. This test was drawn from military training which was originally used to test a recruit’s ability to assemble equipment if blindfolded or in the dark.
4: Leadership makes the difference
Most 5-S implementations fail through management inattention or leaders ‘delegating their responsibilities’ to others without support and involvement. By so doing, they send a loud message that the work is not of high value and not really, ‘The real work.’
Here is an interesting lesson learned by the management of a globally successful steel company. Management was so impressed with the excellence of the employee 5S work, they told them they did not see a need to audit their work teams. After a short discussion the employees came back and earnestly said, “When management ceases to audit - and be involved – they will cease to care. We ask that you reconsider the audit process." The audit process is still in place and you can imagine the quality of the relationship they have.
Seven steps to implementation
By distilling over 40 years of observations, winning companies execute and sustain WO best. There are huge resources to draw upon now including the Lean Enterprise Institute, Ocapt Business Books, Gemba Academy and countless more. Workplace Organization, or 5S, has become just part of their daily living, part of their corporate Vision and a commitment to continuously improve it because it is just part of who they are. Today there is much pride and professionalism associated with it which is reinforced every day. In 2016, a supplier without WO is not in a good place should an important customer ask to walk through his Gemba.
Here are 7 typical approaches taken by manufacturing consortia. Before you start, take the time to visit other operations who open their doors to AME, CME, SME and are willing to share their experiences with others at practitioner-to-practitioner exchanges.
1: PICK a defined place to start. Hopefully one that you know will be successful before you even begin. When successful, what you learn from it can be replicated internally. Many eyes will be watching. Take it seriously AND take many photos of what it looks like before you start. These will be priceless later as they will prove progress accomplishment. As you think about this, remember that the true motivator of the human spirit is achievement but it must be legitimate achievement.
2: EQUIP your folks with the right expectations, training, and tools by giving it unqualified respect and management support. The 5-S training needs to ensure that all involved personnel are included: production, maintenance, managers and sales staff who can brag about your company’s commitment to quality in 2016. Be sure to give time for people to learn the new processes so self-confidence and pride can grow. The greatest fear for a human being is humiliation and embarrassment. Training and support helps ‘drive out the fear.’
3: SORT out the things that consume unnecessary thought, effort, space and resources. Keep the processes naked so the eyes and the mind see process without distraction. Use cross-functional teams to really harness the value of this since folks with different perspectives can help find leaks, errors, waste, hazards and abnormalities. Be sure to ‘red-tag’ every problem and piece of clutter and remove it within a defined time frame
4: SET-IN-ORDER process elements. This is all about sequencing things. It is about the effective placement and arrangement of equipment and materials in your processes. This will free up time and waste.
5: SHINE everything. According to Ford’s mantra, “We can’t afford dirt because it is too expensive!” This one needs a realistic and agreed-upon standard coupled with measures and clear processes for reaching it. Everyone must work to the same standard or there will be no standard. Again, BE SURE to take many photos before starting. Achievement is the greatest motivator of the human spirit and photographs provide indisputable proof of achievement. Without them, in six months, people will not remember what the ‘old place’ looked like. With them pride grows and so does enthusiasm for more.
6: STANDARDIZE means just that! It too was derived from Henry Ford who described it as the very best way while still looking for a better way. Standards provide credible reference points against which to measure real improvement and any improvements provide a new standard. It is really the practice of transforming repeatable processes into instinctive habits. Any lukewarm management support or follow-up here defeats the entire purpose.
7: SUSTAIN Continually execute a process that meets the standard! Here’s where you will spend the rest of your life. Make it into a habit or a KATA. Use a disciplined management style that requires involvement and generates sustainable results in your world. Top management’s policies must be clear, consistent and require visual pictures that will motivate and inspire customers as well as employees..
Be sure to make this an active part of your Vision. Don’t hesitate to designate champions while including accountability for all in manager and employee evaluations. The ability to sustain 5-S will depend on how well management connects it to the ‘real work’ which demands everyone’s involvement! With such involvement comes elusive and much sought after ownership and sustainability.
LeanLinks – Make time to investigate
1. Dalco Metals: Lean Office Cuts Processing Time 50%
2. OCAPT Business Books
3. Follow the Learner: Lean Dentist
4. Lean Frontiers