As practitioners of continuous improvement, many of us have spent a large part of our careers building cultures focused on lean and operational excellence. An outcome of this work is that we have grown personally as we balanced being both teacher and student. In addition, our leadership principles and styles evolved thanks to our focus on respect and the central importance of people in the workplace.Continue Reading →
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?"Continue Reading →
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.
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.
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?”Continue Reading →
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.Continue Reading →
“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?Continue 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.Continue Reading →