The Lean Benchmark Report
techniques to using more sophisticated and multi-faceted planning techniques; today’s VSM tools are well suited to facilitate cross-functional brainstorming and design proc- esses. Some companies still have success with yellow “stickies” in war rooms; however there are more sophisticated tools available, which will be discussed in Chapter 3.
Figure 4: Best-in-Class Strategic Actions
Reduce non value-added manufacturing and supply chain costs
Implement continuous improvement culture and methods
Improve manufacturing and supply chain flexibility
Customer demand driven manufacturing
Focus on customer value-adding activities
Reduce inventory and assets required to produce and deliver product
Improve product quality
Source: AberdeenGroup, March 2006
The next highest priority strategic action undertaken by best-in-class Lean organizations as shown in Figure 4, implement continuous improvement culture and methods (or Kai- zen), shown at 52% is exemplified by Rockwell Automation. The company has consid- ered itself Lean for five years and has made significant improvements throughout manu- facturing and the supply chain. In terms of creating a culture of continuous improvement, Rockwell takes pride in its idea management program. Designed to encourage employees to make suggestions, this effort has been in place for three-years; today, the company implements and manages several change requests per employee on an annual basis. We also spoke with a division of Becton Dickenson, a leading provider of medical devices, that is in the process of implementing a similar program based on the concepts set forth in Alan G. Robinson and Dean M. Schroeder’s Ideas Are Free; its goal is to solicit, ra- tionalize, and implement between 12 and 24 recommendations per employee its first year.
The third most important strategic action cited by best-in-class companies in Figure 4 at 38% is improving manufacturing and supply chain flexibility. A widely recognized best- in-class Lean company, Johnson Controls reinvigorated its award-winning Lean program a few years ago to focus exclusively on improving its supply chain responsiveness. The “pull” and “flow” methods that it uses across its 40+ manufacturing plants have been ex- tended to include transportation processes and production processes in sister plants. As a result, Johnson Controls today offers 100% assurance of on-time delivery, delivering both improved customer satisfaction and improved supply chain performance.
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