Lean Transformation Strategies
Develop a Lean Roadmap
is will be a detailed, yet exible plan to implement Lean across the
company. ink about whether you really have the support of upper man-
agement. Make sure you are honest with yourself. If the majority of the
members of the steering committee are not highly committed, and one of
them must be the president, then you will need to approach Lean in a dif-
ferent way. Understanding that there is more than one approach, it should
go something like this:
• Get a Lean leader
• Establish a Lean steering committee
• Establish a Lean resource plan—Lean team
• Establish and communicate the Lean Vision to the company
• Develop the roll-out plan
• Implement the plan
• Implement relentless improvement
• Move to advanced Lean practices
Get a Lean Leader
e Lean leader must have a combination of both technical skills with
regard to the Lean body of knowledge and people skills. He or she must
have solid leadership skills. Implicit in implementing Lean is leading
change. is will require skill. It will be challenging, yet rewarding. At
times, it may be grueling, yet fullling. technical skills alone will not work.
Have the Lean leader complete a Lean assessment immediately. ere are
194  •  Relentless Improvement: True Stories of Lean Transformation
several online assessments available. Select one and go. It will be a good
discussion medium with the Steering Committee.
Establish a Lean Steering Committee
is means management. Get them on board, but remember that their
time is limited, so manage their time well. Set up training for the steering
committee in the fundamentals of Lean. Tie the Lean strategy into achiev-
ing the strategic objectives of the company. Remember: low cost, short
cycle times, highest quality, and on-time delivery to customers. In today’s
business climate, managing working capital and cash ow can be a huge
challenge. Lean can be very eective in supporting this eort. Make sure
accounting is on the steering committee.
Set up regularly scheduled meetings, at least once per month. Make sure
the meetings are well managed. Have an agenda and follow it. Provide
updates on Lean activities, progress to the roll-out plan, and then to the
Lean roadmap. Develop and distribute a concise report of Lean metrics
as you implement them. Always relate the Lean eort to the accomplish-
ment of strategic objectives, which are always at the core of the executive’s
agenda. Encourage and solicit their participation in small celebration
events along the way. It speaks volumes when presidents and executives
walk out into the factory and attend.
Have the steering committee participate in some training. Make sure it
is good training, and not too long. Also, make sure it is not too technical,
but really gets across the principles of Lean and the benets of a Lean cul-
ture—that is short cycle times, lower costs, higher quality, more satised
customers, a better work environment. Keep them informed and engaged.
Invite them to victory or project completion celebrations.
Establish a Lean Resource Plan
One of the key measures of an organizations commitment to Lean is the
resources they are willing to deploy in support of it. One of these resources
is a Lean leader or champion. Depending on the size of the organization,
a Lean team may be in order. I once interviewed a candidate for a Lean
leader position. He ended up being more suited for a larger role. However,
one thing he did during the interview has stuck with me to this day. He
said, “Bill, I would like to talk with the president.” I told him I would
introduce him. He said, “I’m not interested in meeting him. I want to talk

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