Five fundamentals to successful Lean implementation
Look beyond Lean tools to changing leadership behavior
A lot of companies are struggling with the question, “How do I become Lean?” Most are starting with benchmark visits and intensive training on Lean tools. They focus on the utilization of methods and tools like value stream mapping, 5S (sort-shine-systemize-standardize-sustain), Kanban, visualization, and communication concepts, to name only a few, and expect profitable results soon.
The idea behind use of such Lean tools is to gain transparency and to focus on the problem. This is generally correct, but if you would like to get sustainable continuous improvement, there can be a greater benefit beyond a tool set of methods. There can be a profound change in leadership behavior patterns.
Five fundamental jigsaw pieces of Lean methods are used in the Siemens Guadalajara facility, to get the real power out of Lean by changing existing management practices while incorporating the Siemens values of innovation, excellence, and responsibility.
1. Review job environment and satisfaction
Before you get started with Lean workshops, it is important to review how previous leadership culture has shaped the work environment. It is well known that the work environment defines how employees will react on the Lean implementation. Job environment and satisfaction, also known as company culture, is closely related to the common mind-set of employees, which is directly related to their viewpoints, called paradigms.
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After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.