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  • Bill Greider

2021 Lean Strategy: Hit the Ground Running

Updated: Jan 13


The brand new sparkling year is always a time of renewed optimism and energy. More than any other year, hopefully we all had a chance over the holidays to reflect on who and what we have in our lives and rejoice in our good fortune.


The challenge we face is the fact that what got us here probably won't get us to where we want to go. As leaders, how exactly do we want the new year to be remembered? "2021?!?!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"? What will be the one thing that we will be "measurably" better at (beyond a shadow of a doubt) on 12/31/21 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 2021 be the year we became a learning organization? Can it be the year we became known for unmatched customer service? Is it the year of incredible innovation? 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.


The second goal is much simpler. How much improvement activity will we be doing this year? 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 2021....and let's make sure we have some fun!!!!

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