Not all organizations are at the same level in implementing lean and its tools. In some, lean words are taboo, often because of failures in the past. For these organizations a little chilly about the implementation of new tools, I suggest using a progressive implementation method.
Take the example of 5S. Instead of setting up the 5S in a delimited area, a reduced area, it is possible to add the progressive implantation: we put in place only the first “S”: Sort. Once the technique is well understood, we implement the second “S”, and so on. Teams have the time to become familiar with and master part of the tool before continuing. They learn at their own pace and grow with progressive deployment. In this progressive approach, it is possible to move the whole organization forward at the same pace, or to make staggered launches by sector. It will be according to the sensitivity of the managers.
This progressive implantation technique – very small steps – applies to all lean tools and concepts. It’s continuous improvement in the pure sense, and for me the best way to make an overcautious organization walk. With these tiny steps, the initial commitment is less, but once crossed, they stimulate to continue. Anyone who wants to use this method will have to keep his final goal in mind and choose the small steps to take.
Different ways to apply progressive implantation
- Performance indicators: to move from old indicators to new ones, more relevant for managing daily operations, we can start by changing an indicator, introducing the new way to measure it, to pilot it. When it is proven, it will be easier to see all the others.
- SMED: we start by observing and identifying the operations that can be done in masked time. When they are all corrected, we attack the non-value added operations (or vice versa).
- Kanban: it is introduced on a reference, a product that is visible.
- Visual management: we start by displaying an indicator or the “lean” thought of the week, or we place a whiteboard and we gather the team around to give (and note) important information of the day / week.
Kaizen means small steps. All operational excellence tools can be implemented at small steps, at the pace of users..