CEO Attention

Over the years, I’ve had the honor of speaking to groups about building lean cultures.

But more importantly, I’ve spent time in the audience as a student listening to lean leaders.

With most speaking engagements there is a question and answer (Q&A) session at the end. Usually we have a short list of questions that are frequently asked. One such question is:

"How do we get the commitment of the CEO for our lean initiative?"

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The CEO of Perfect Order

A wise person once said: "re-structuring organizational charts may be the disease rather than the cure."

Yet many organizations continue doing so, often not producing a better result. Which begs the question: are they restructuring org charts in any substantive way to drive improvement, or are they simply moving the deck chairs?

What’s interesting is that many organizational structures are focused inward as opposed to outward on the customer. They structure based on a need to manage strategy, people, process, technology, and finances.

But the customer is not interested in these things. The customer is interested in receiving the perfect order, as described by the ten rights: getting 1) the right products, 2) to the right customers, 3) in the right quantities, 4) in the right quality, 5) at the right times, 6) from the right sources, 7) at the right prices, 8) at the right total cost, 9) with the right services, 10) all within the right amount of required complexity (effort) across the extended value stream.

I often wonder, what would happen if organizations structured around the perfect order? What if organizations had a CEO of Perfect Order and 10 VP's, all focused on one "right" across the extended value stream?

Or, what if they simply talked about what good could come from this structure and built their processes around it?

Food for thought.

 

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The Opportunity for Small to Medium-Sized Shippers

We had a great webinar last week where we presented the results of our recent Transportation Management Maturity Benchmark Assessment. This five-minute survey gauges where a company falls on the transportation management maturity model in the core areas of Network Optimization and Routing, Carrier Management, Network Operations, People and Strategy, and Technology. Upon completion, it provides custom feedback with practical next steps on how to advance performance and reduce cost.

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Leaders: Convinced or Not Convinced?

I participated in a book club with a group of healthcare continuous improvement leaders. They are studying the book I co-wrote - PEOPLE: a leader's day-to-day guide to building, managing, and sustaining lean organizations. An invite like this is a great boost for the ego, not to mention amazing dialogue with smart, interesting and caring people...the best kind.

One question was “how do you talk to senior leaders to get support for improvement initiatives?”

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Inbound Ain't Outbound

I was reflecting about the progression of LeanCor’s managed transportation services. There is no question that our initial work started in inbound through manufacturing and then naturally grew to include outbound. There is a big difference between inbound and outbound logistics.

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"How Robert Martichenko Leads With Respect"

I was recently interviewed by David Drickhamer on his Crossover Wisdom blog. David is an independent leadership and management writer, editor, researcher and journalist. For the past ten-plus years, he has helped business leaders and companies tell powerful stories.

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The Four Themes of Lean

“Get the fundamentals down and the level of everything you do will rise.” - Michael Jordan

The last week has been exciting in that I got to talk to and hear from a host of friends and colleagues relative to lean thinking. It's amazing how many people are running on parallel tracks as we all work towards building cultures of continuous improvement.

The question I posed last week was around identifying common themes inside many of the books that have been written on lean and business excellence. I wasn’t surprised to receive several comments and great feedback. The answer to my question seemed obvious and intuitive to many people, which makes me think many of us are watching the same movie. Perhaps this has something to do with our collective experience and lessons learned?

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Lean Thinking is Reading

“The secret of culture is to learn that a few great points steadily reappear…and that these few are alone to be regarded…these are the essentials...” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

I try to avoid absolutes, but it’s fair to say that most lean thinkers are avid readers. Reading goes with the territory of being interested and passionate about a topic. And when lean thinkers read, they do so with purpose.

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Lean and the Adjacent Thinker

My undergraduate degree is in mathematics. Not just mathematics, but pure mathematics. This means that I learned the actual theorems for equations that engineering students and applied mathematicians get to utilize. The fact that I have a degree in pure mathematics may sound impressive, but don't hold me in too high esteem too quickly as I'm not sure I purposely chose the major. With the past being a bit hazy, something tells me I did not get accepted into engineering school. Apparently, there are always seats available in pure mathematics. Don't feel too sorry for me though, as I do now have a passion for numbers and how they work. So, it all worked out as lean and numbers have a close relationship.

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Lean is Systems Thinking

Several years ago, I walked by my oldest daughter’s bedroom and noticed her writing feverishly at her desk. Considering she was no more than seven at the time, my curiosity was peaked and I stuck my head in.

“What ya doing, honey?”

“Hey, Dad. I’m writing the governors of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho to tell them not to hurt the wolves.”

This was enough for me to stop and get some details.

The story of the wolf – particularly in Yellowstone Park – is a narrative, in and of itself, around the challenges of solving complicated problems.

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Lessons in Lean : Lessons in Leadership - The Blog

There is no question that building an organizational culture of continuous improvement is a progressive evolution that takes time. In this blog, Robert Martichenko discusses his lessons learned while building these cultures in our new world of constant disruption - sharing key knowledge that will lead today’s business leaders down the path toward discovering hidden profit. 

Interested in a particular topic or have a question? Let Robert know!

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