When is the Best time to start your LEAN Journey?

triangle4Lean is an improvement tool, to help your company be as productive and efficient as possible while using the same materials and resources. Starting the lean journey will be beneficial to your organization no matter then you decide to take the journey. That being said, some of the most common reasons companies start their lean are are:

  1. The company is faced with a challenge and they are looking to Lean to help address the issues.
  2. There is recognition that Lean will help them be more successful.
  3. A Senior member of the company learns about Lean and feels that this should be brought into the company.

All of these possible circumstances are associated with opportunities and challenges. In the following table I layout some of the opportunities to recognize as well as challenges that may need to be addressed in each of these circumstances.

Facing a challenge:

Opportunity Challenges
Staff recognizes the need for action May have difficulty finding time to implement Lean as they react to problems
Necessity makes people more receptive to change Money may not be available to invest in training and implementation
If jobs are threatened, staff will respond to change Sustainability of changes may be an issue if company rushes to implement

To be more successful:

Opportunities Challenges
Team members understand that improvement initiatives help them be better than their competition Staff may not understand the need for change
Staff take risks, try new things Can send a mixed message
Can accept the idea of a continuous improvement philosophy


Learning about Lean:

Opportunities Challenges
Executives recognize link between Lean experience and successful outcomes If not obvious motivator for change, buy-in can be a challenge
New Lean employee or consultant demonstrates significant results by applying concepts Need to ensure appropriate communications and training are in place
Lean becomes socialized and culture becomes one of continuous improvement


Final Word

Every organization has their reason and timing to undertake Lean as an Operational Excellence philosophy.  Visible sponsorship of this change is always required, especially in the early days, and needs to be supported by appropriate communications messaging, training and ongoing support for continuous improvement. What ever your reason for implementing lean in our organization PACE can provide the tools and coaching you need to help you do more with the same.

Adapted from: Velaction Continuous Improvement, LLC: http://www.velaction.com/when-is-the-best-time-to-start-a-lean-journey/