How Lean Supply Chain Guiding Principles Improve Your Bottom Line

The people in your organization are the secret keys to improving your businesses bottom line results. Many of us, including myself, have gone to a lean six sigma training course to learn the tools necessary to improve our organization, and although this is great and we learned a lot of valuable tools, we need to realize that the tools are just that, a tool to enable our PEOPLE to improve.

What we need to do is understand how we can involve all people within an organization into the lean supply chain, a system that thinks horizontally through the sharing of best practices in the pursuit of perfection for the customer. Do not get me wrong, I am passionate about Lean Six Sigma training, especially when it deals with the supply chain. But what I see in many organizations is the lack of motivating the people to always work toward the organizations goals in its pursuit of perfection.

Principles are those things that we believe in as an organization, that gives us an actionable plan to go do something that we value. An example that I really like is one from the Building the Lean Fulfillment Stream book published through the Lean Enterprise Institute which states - Collaborate, Solve Problems, and Focus on Process Discipline. This principle IS about the people. How principles help us improve is that it helps us communicate the reason “WHY” we are on this journey, instead of just expecting our people to learn “HOW” to improve, without any true direction.

So my questions and challenge to you are:

  • Does your organization have guiding principles that are aligned to the vision of your organization?
  • Are these guiding principles communicated to the people of your organization, and does everyone understand what they mean?
  • Do you teach your people “WHY
    ” they are needed to improve the organization, instead of just giving them the tools and teaching them “HOW” to improve?
  • After you have communicated the “WHY”, do you arm your people with the right training (lean training, six sigma training, lean supply chain training) and coaching in order to learn the “HOW” to improving the business, and their own education?
  • Have you been to a Lean Leadership course or done any reading in order to learn how to be a servant leader for your teams?

Remember, as former Hockey Coach Barry Melrose once stated, “The coach’s (leaders) job is to take excuses away from the player – no travel problems, no equipment problems, no bad practices, no bad game plans – so that there is nowhere for the player to look but in the mirror”. So, have you created an supply chain environment where your people are educated with the knowledge of the “WHY”, and armed with the tools of the “HOW”?

Written by Ana Bailey, Supply Chain Engineer at LeanCor

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Posted by LeanCor Supply Chain Group

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LeanCor Supply Chain Group is a trusted supply chain partner that specializes in lean principles to deliver operational improvement. LeanCor’s three integrated divisions – LeanCor Training and Education, LeanCor Consulting, and LeanCor Logistics – help organizations eliminate waste, drive down costs, and build a culture of continuous improvement.

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