“Strategy deployment is a powerful way to get the leadership team involved in the lean journey.For a long time, I’ve been dismissive of organizations that want to start their lean journeys with hoshin kanri, (also known as strategy deployment). When you’ve got a company where people are not engaged (at best) or suspicious of management (at worst), it seems to me that getting people involved in everyday improvement to make their jobs easier is a better place to start.[…] Until now. Recently, my colleague and friend Katie Anderson pointed out something I’ve completely missed: that strategy deployment is a powerful way to get the leadership team involved in the lean journey.”
Michel Baudin‘s comments: As I have great respect for both Dan Markovitz and Katie Anderson, I have to paraphrase Judge Haller from My Cousin Vinny, “That is a lucid, intelligent, well thought-out argument… Overruled.”
The flaw I see in Dan’s argument is that it only addresses employee engagement, which isn’t the only reason to start with local, tactical shop-floor projects with both technical and managerial content. In an organization that is just starting on its journey, the successful initial projects are most commonly setup time reduction or cell conversion of a process segment. Besides engaging employees, they also produce tangible improvements, develop technical and managerial skills, and let leaders emerge.
“…workers come to work motivated and ready to be engaged. They just need to:
know what to do
how to do it
be supplied with the resources to do it.
Then you will get their engagement…”
Michel Baudin‘s insight:
The cure Lonnie recommends in Hoshin Planning, and in particular the catchball process to bounce around ideas and strategies vertically and horizontally in the organization before committing to implement them.
Lonnie give several references on Hoshin Planning or Hoshin Kanri, but does not include my favorite, Pascal Dennis’s “Getting the Right Things Done” (http://bit.ly/XejqkK).
This is the second in a series of questions I have received from the Spanish magazine APD (Asociación para el Progreso Directivo). My answer is as follows and, perhaps, your comments will help me make it better:
More than anything the managers need to know what they don’t know. Lean is not a discipline you can master by reading one book on an airplane or taking a one-day course. It is the result of over 60 years of development at Toyota and other companies, built on top of the foundation of mid-20th century manufacturing know-how, with a rich technical and managerial content. Managers do not need to master the technical details, but they need an appreciation for them.
A manager who says “We do Lean, TOC, Six Sigma, and TPM” shows a lack of this appreciation. If you look behind the labels, such a list is akin to Borges’s classification of animals. TOC is about production control; Six Sigma, statistical methods for quality; TPM, maintenance. Lean covers all of these issues and more, from production line design to wage systems and human resource management. It is deeper and broader than all the other programs and does not belong in a list with them.
While showing respect for the technical side of Lean, managers obviously need to master the managerial side, which includes both skills in leading the transformation of an organization to Lean, and the management of daily operations in this organization once the transformation is underway. This ranges from a strategy deployment tool like Hoshin Planning to running start of shift meetings every day and providing career planning for production operators.