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How Mature is your Lean Program?

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012 : 3 Comments

Maturity Levels

Needs Improvement Competitive Advantage Through Lean
People
  • Lack of employee engagement
  • Poor communications
  • Significant investment in training
  • Ideas from workforce
Process
  • Forecast-driven push
  • Financial metrics based on internal efficiencies
  • Demand-driven pull
  • KPIs based on customer satisfaction
Technology
  • Lack of investment in equipment
  • Manual decision support tools
  • Investment in tools to support people
  • Automated, scalable business intelligence analytics

A recent study by consulting firm Bain, showed that only 19% of high-mix manufacturing companies that tried Lean were actually happy with the results. Surprising, particularly when we consider the pressure to become Lean.

The question is:  What factors are creating the dissatisfaction and poor lean results?

Well, it seems there are two different Lean philosophies being discussed.

Traditional Lean versus Holistic Lean.

High-mix manufacturers who have tried to implement traditional lean have ultimately failed. The main reasons for this are:

1.      Companies are trying to implement Lean exactly as it was invented.

2.      Companies struggle to scale initial successes from pilot projects.

3.      Companies cannot sustain initial success.

Notice that within each of these scenarios, you do not see any mention of people, process, or technology, which are the backbone of the holistic method. Simply put, to achieve lean success within high-mix environments, a company needs a comprehensive approach, including their people, processes, and technology.

The above chart compares these three characteristics at a company low on the maturity level scale of implementing Lean versus a company that has achieved competitive advantages using holistic Lean. As this chart shows, it is easy to see why if a company leaves out even one of these characteristics, failure is inevitable.

Look at the chart — where does your company fit? Over the next 3 weeks we will break down each characteristic and its importance within the holistic method.

We invite you to share your thoughts and let us know what has worked for your company.

3 Responses to How Mature is your Lean Program?

  1. Pingback: How Mature is Your Lean Program?- Process | Invistics

  2. Pingback: How Mature is Your Lean Program?- Technology | Invistics

  3. Pingback: How Mature Is Your Lean Program?- People | Invistics

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