What It Really Takes to Get Lean — Guest Blog by MetaExpert Karl Rickman

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Most companies don’t understand the effort that it takes to become a Lean company. They all want to be world class but they all want somebody to do it for them, not with them. I constantly get “that doesn’t work for me” or “We don’t have deep pockets like Toyota”. They want to do the same things but expect different results. I’ve heard a million time, “Karl that doesn’t work for me, I tried that!”

It amazes me how many of my foreign customers with limited budgets roll up their sleeves, works hard and just “Do It!”

It has to start from the top, to get results it’s all about who participates and holds their management accountable.

Important things to understand:

1) You have to grasp the situation.

2) You need a clearly communicated vision and targets. It is best for management to be part of setting these targets.

3) It takes three to five years not 90 days. A consultant can get you going but it will depend on the company’s efforts to get the full benefits.

4) It’s great to get new young blood out of school, those who don’t have any predetermined notions, but they should be partnered with experienced people who understand the business and are willing to change.

5) Hold your leaders accountable. When you are sick and the doctor prescribes medicine, if you don’t take it as prescribed, is it the doctor’s fault you didn’t get better?

6) There is not always a canned answer. Just like sometimes the doctor has to adjust medicine to fit your needs. The systems/tools need to be adjusted based on the behaviors they drive. Many companies stop when it doesn’t work the first time.


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