Almost all of our customers believe in lean and would say they have a fully integrated, operational lean system. At some point though, when they’re far enough on the lean journey, they start to ask themselves if there wasn’t something they missed somewhere along the way. They wrote their production system, rolled it out to all the plants, trained every employee, and saw results. After that initial push, the results started to slip, people started to change, and the operations weren’t able to realize their expected improvements.
There are hidden benefits to a lean system that only show when the adoption is infused through all three dimensions of an organization – from top to bottom (operators to executives), side to side (raw materials to finished goods), and front to back (sales to finance). These benefits come when you expand your vision of lean as a production or manufacturing system to a management and operating system.
Here are some of the hidden benefits of a full lean system:
Results improve year over year over year
Lean is not quick wins. Lean is not laying off 5% of your workforce to meet earnings. Lean is not 120 day payment terms with your suppliers to make your cash position look better.
Lean is a system that creates an atmosphere of success for companies to grow. To synchronize people’s efforts to find new pathways of success that drive better results year after year after year.
Lean is about playing the long game because you know that the investor with the longest time horizon wins (thanks Raoul Pal and Gary Vaynerchuk for this shared insight).
Processes, products, and profits improve simultaneously
One of the fantastic outcomes of a lean system is to see multiple, meaningful improvements happening at the same time. The combination of focus and synchronization allows for different areas of the company to share a common goal and improve together.
The system rejects bad apples
Tell me if you’ve heard this story before – a new CEO comes in and needs to make their mark, so they announce personnel changes, acquisitions and divestitures, and a new strategic direction. Two years later they drop out under a golden parachute amid a catastrophic stock price decline.
A lean system is so strongly tied into all levels of the organization and the daily interactions of people that the system itself rejects bad apples at all levels before they can inflict irreversible damage.
Learning is constant and powerful
Author Dan Pink asserted that real motivation comes from combining autonomy, mastery, and purpose. A lean system, especially when combined with dynamic and people-oriented management, packages all three of these motivational elements together in one package.
People want to work at your company
A key element of a lean system is that work is managed via mechanisms of pull and flow. Those same principles apply to attracting people – pull and flow. If you find yourself either casting a massive net just to hire a few candidates or putting in robot tables to keep people in the office all night, it may be the time to look at your system. Build a company that works like a magnet. A famous adage about TPS is that it doesn’t stand for the “Toyota Production System” but for the “Thinking Person’s System”. Create a powerful, positive feedback loop: use the system to develop better people that build a better system.
Installing a lean system is not about manufacturing or waste reduction. It’s about choosing a system to run your business that creates sustainable, multidimensional success.
If you’re ready to see the benefits of a lean system, schedule a consultation with Geolean to discuss lean installation in your operation.