How To Refresh Your Lean Implementation: 3 Tips To Get Back On Track

Lean Standard Work Visual for PDCA Rooms
Lean Standard Work Visual for PDCA Rooms

How To Refresh Your Lean Implementation: 3 Tips To Get Back On Track

Your organization decided to go lean. Many new ideas and changes are flying your way. You started off strong and after some time have unfortunately fallen behind. Doing what “was always done before” is creeping back like a bad habit; a traditional way of thinking is looming.

Don’t give up! Get back on track with three simple steps: make small changes – one at a time, keep it simple, and preview yesterday. After each step description below, I have provided links to relevant blog posts for additional reading and tools.


Step 1: Make Small Changes - One At a Time


In the world of business it’s not always about survival of the strongest, rather those companies that adapt to change. Human nature is resistant to change, so the entire organization must be involved in establishing company goals and objectives. Small changes are not only easier to handle, but easier to maintain and perfect. The ideal company will learn through small, incremental improvements to the current state. Many of our customers have started their lean journeys with individual improvement projects on the LeanCor consulting side before transitioning over to lean logistics engineering and transportation management.

Think of it like building a house. The foundation goes down first, then the frame work, the roof, the electricity, the installation, the walls, etc.


Read Supplemental Blog Posts: A3 Thinking, Building a Lean Culture/Lean Leadership


Step 2: Keep It Simple


Too many times we try to over complicate processes, events, projects, and even standard work. One of the key elements in lean instructs to “design simple and inexpensive techniques to error-proof processes” (Everything I Know About Lean I Learned in First Grade). When we add levels of difficultly and complication we add an opportunity for error and costs, and possibly waste.


Read Supplemental Blog Posts: Standard Work


Step 3: Preview Yesterday


There is always something to learn from the day before. Put yourself in the shoes of the customer. Go to the Gemba. Ask questions such as: Did my improvement project add value? Is there muda (waste) occurring? Is there a Poka Yoke in place? What is the root cause of the problem? Johnson & Johnson is a leading example of learning from past mistakes. When Tylenol products were tampered with and lead to deaths, Johnson & Johnson had to make a big change. They located a root cause and implemented a poka-yoke – the triple-seal tamper – resistance packaging. That simple change resulted in a big and prosperous future for the brand. Those types of changes come from learning from the past and embracing the future.


Read Supplemental Blog Posts: Problem Solving, 5 Why

Rome wasn’t built overnight and becoming lean won’t happen that quickly either. Remain focused and committed and success will come.

Written by Tabitha Zamarripa, Lean Logistics Specialist 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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