A lean lesson

I have been blogging and using lean concepts, tools and techniques for years now. I have found it to be successful in my life, both in office and personal. I was passionate about lean as I knew it can produce results. And they can be quantified and simply visible to everyone. But I know as a fact, most of the lean followers are not very passionate about lean manufacturing. Even the readers of my blog, who has shown some positive interest, have their doubts on lean manufacturing and its ability to help them achieve their goals. This was puzzling me for a while. Although I knew some of the reasons, it was not enough for me to justify the disbelief of the lean users.
I learnt an important lesson about implementing lean to its fullest effect, very recently, interestingly through this blog. I learnt why people do things, to the fullest. I found people do not put their full effort to implement lean because they do not feel lean is part of them. Lean in many instances forced on the workers at various levels by the organizations they work for. They had to follow lean whether they really believe it or not. No or little emphasis put on the getting worker buying in and making lean their own. This made lean something they had to do, not something they want to do.
In my case, no one forced me to be lean. I chose lean as a very simple yet powerful philosophy to attack day to day problems I faced, both in office and home. I saw my results and I was responsible for those results. When I see more positives myself, I started believing lean more. When I believe lean more, I started working more on lean. So it went on a positive cycle. So I never complained about lean. In fact I complained about people not being lean.
But this is not same for most of the workers who are kind of forced to follow lean. There is no mechanism to quantify the results as an organization and as an individual. Results fuel your lean engine. If there is no fuel in the form of results and if you cannot motivate your teams to achieve more, lean will die. Every person in your team should follow lean willingly to achieve those positive results. This will create the momentum and will increase the effectiveness of your lean effort massively.
In the history of this blog, I have discussed many important lean topics. I got some feedback in the form of personal emails and comments to those blog posts. But I got the highest number of feedback and huge amount of enthusiasm from all around the world for the post “Lena football”. Yes, all my readers are looking for lean information. But when I wrote this post (which I did just for fun of it), I got some serious feedback. Why?
Because football is part of us. No one wants to let their team down, especially in a world cup. Everyone wants to win it. Millions of people stood behind their national teams to support them. This creates the motivation to go the extra mile. You will stand up for your football team and football in general, not because someone forced you to do so, but you want. This emotional attachment in any case can trigger strong reactions. If managed positively, this can create a huge force to take you to the winning line.
Lean should not be forced on anyone. This will work little if it works at all. But people should be made more and more involved. All of them should share not only the responsibilities, they should share the rewards. Everyone should feel lean as a part of them not something forced on them. This will work magic for your lean efforts.
Please share your thoughts with the world. Leave your comments below.

Toyota Recalls Vehicles Again

Toyota, the father of lean manufacturing is facing some serious quality issues recently. In the latest of these, they are recalling around 270,000 vehicles globally. This is another setback for the giant vehicle manufacturer. Recall is due to faulty engine valves according to media and has affected the luxury Toyota brands Lexus and Crown.

From a lean manufacturing point of view, these quality problems are very serious concerns. Lean methodology is about driving out waste and offer the customer want they want at a lower price wit highest quality.

When it comes to Toyota, they have huge number of outsourced manufacturers and vendors from whom Toyota get their parts and assemble. Even a failure of a single vendor and failure of Toyota to find the problem before the stuff hit the market, can really drive you to results like these.
In lean mindset quality inspection can be considered as a non value added activity. But with the problems Toyota facing today, it will be a very valuable to go for an intense quality inspection together with the high end quality assurance methods Toyota being following.

How to Implement Lean Manufacturing?

How to Implement Lean Manufacturing by Lonnie Wilson is a great How To type guide to lean manufacturing and related topics. In this book Lonnie covers topics like

– Different strategies of lean implementation
– How to change the culture
– How to define the scope of the project
– How to set goals of the projects and so on

I think you should read this too. This probably is one of the best lean books you can read about. You can buy How To Implement Lean Manufacturing from the Amazon store. Kindle version is also available.

Please leave your comments about the book here.