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  • Writer's pictureBill Greider

2023: Using Your Lean to Make it Unforgettable!

Hopefully we've had a chance over the holidays to reflect on who we have in our lives and rejoice in our good fortune. Now, the new year is a time for renewed energy and optimism!

One of my mentors told me when I was running my own company "what got you to today probably won't get you to tomorrow." It's a scary thought, but I've learned it is the price of doing business-we just need to continue to evolve and grow-simple.

So, how exactly do we want the new year to be remembered? "2023?!?! That was the year that we.........."

If you already employ lean or TPS as a business strategy, now is the time to gain agreement on 2 goals for the year.

First, what will be our "policy deployment" (big hairy goal)? What will be the one thing that we will be "measurably" better at (beyond a shadow of a doubt) on 12/31/23 than we are on 1/1? Imagine a visitor asking people at random "what's important around here?" and getting the exact same answer from anyone they asked? Can 2023 be the year we became a learning organization? Can it be the year we became known for cutting lead time in half? Doubling productivity (sales/labor hour?) Cutting scrap in half? Whatever it is, simply apply the four essential components of policy deployment: urgency (the why), learning, metrics and kaizen (to move the metrics), and engage every single person in your company in all four components. Make the goal so good everyone thinks you're off your rocker (then you'll know it's a good one-if everyone just nods OK, not big enough, lol).

The second goal is much simpler. How much improvement activity will we be doing this year? If you can't "do" kaizen, forget the big hairy goal. For those of you who use A3 to do continuous continuous improvement, how many A3s will you complete by the end of the year. As a rule of thumb, if you are just getting started with A3, ask every single person in your company to simply do 2 A3s sometime between now and the end of the year. Is it too much to ask for 2 executable process improvement suggestions over approximately 240 work days? If you have 100 employees in your company set the A3 goal at 200, and make the goal visible by keeping track of everyone's progress (listing everyone whether they have done an improvement or not.

At the end of the year, between 1/3 and 1/2 of the completed improvements should reflect EXACTLY what your policy deployment strategy is. If your strategy is to be the best customer service organization in your market, then nearly half of the improvements should be toward delighting (not satisfying) your customers!

I wish you the best of everything in 2023....with energy and optimism!

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