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The Lean Benchmark Report

Industry Norm Steps to Success

Companies reporting average performance results also have an opportunity to create a culture of Lean and extend Lean techniques into other areas of manufacturing and out to supply chain partners.

1. Create a culture of Lean.

Eliminate functional barriers by creating customer-focused cross-functional teams that are accountable for entire processes both within and outside of manu- facturing. Grow leaders and teams who thoroughly understand the work, live the philosophy, and teach it to others.

  • 2.

    Implement TPM (total productive maintenance) program. Achieving Lean results will require equipment that is dependable, effective, and available to support one-piece flow production. TPM is a comprehensive, team- based approach to ensure that every machine or process is always able to perform its required tasks.

  • 3.

    Conduct Kaizen blitz workshops.

Kaizen workshops are cross-functional in nature, focused on continuous im- provement, and conducted over one to five days. The goal of the workshop is to rapidly refine solutions to highest priority issues; workshops can be focused on either value stream improvements or on the elimination of waste. Because this is a well documented and structured process, consider training an internal leader or hiring an external consultant. Organize and prioritize Kaizen improvement ef- forts along the value stream to ensure that focused improvement efforts deliver value to the highest impact business areas.

Best-in-Class Next Steps

Companies that have achieved competitive differentiation through operational excellence still have the opportunity to continue to improve and extend their lead even further.

  • 1.

    Raise the Performance Bar with Lean Six Sigma If Six Sigma is either not explicit or core to your Lean program, consider it care- fully. Its disciplines are well documented and its focus on measures, precision, and continuous improvement will complement any Lean initiative and culture.

  • 2.

    Balance long-term strategy and short-term results. Although TPS defines a game plan for Lean, many companies are at odds when managing expectations regarding short-term results. Although immediate results can be gained implementing rudimentary Lean techniques in manufacturing, more dramatic and positive change happens over time (multi-year commitment).

  • 3.

    Improve supplier collaboration

Leverage technology to enable suppliers’ visibility into planned shipments, de- mand forecasts, and production schedules. Work collaboratively to ensure that full value is delivered without surprises to the mutual end-customer.

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