You might have read already many articles about the dramatic results that manufacturers and service providers have achieved with Lean. Over the past twenty years, Lean principles have been applied to most industries in one way or another – assembly lines, patient care, front and back office operations, hard and software development – and Lean thinking has even spilled over from our jobs into our personal lives. You might be convinced by now that Lean is the way to go but you are not exactly sure where to start and how to get your people on board.


Taking the baseline gets the ball rolling

Overcoming the inertia and helping people take the first step towards a better future is the most common challenge to any improvement program. This can be even more difficult when those individuals look back to a successful past, so that they are burdened by a legacy mindset that hampers their ability to see a changing reality. They might also be unaware of increasing market demands and the fact that a high level of activity (being busy) does not automatically generate value for customers and a return for the company.


"We do what we always did, and we are good at it"

This is a common response, even when faced with eroding margins and increasing customer complaints. Using past achievements to evaluate today's performance is therefore problematic, especially when customers have "raised the bar" and expect lead-times and defect rates at a fraction of those ten years ago. What was considered "good" previously slid down the bell-curve to the bottom of the tail today.


We must redefine what "good" truly means today

Such grounding might be painful yet important to create the openness to changes that "move the needle" on velocity, stability, productivity – and eventually – competitiveness. On the other hand, such a reality-check ought to be motivating, so people are willing to take the first step towards a better future. Feedback has to be presented in such a way that it will not be seen as a notice of incapability (gap analysis), but instead as a recipe to become more successful: "the best we can be".


The 20 keys open the door to world-class improvement

To create awareness and eventually the recipe to design sustainable transformation programs, we have identified twenty universal success criteria – "The 20 Keys To World-Class Operations" – and encapsulated them in the "Lean Audit". The Lean Audit is a comprehensive diagnostic system that helps managers, investors, and business consultants assess manufacturing and service operations, while defining the path to leaner, and more productive future.


The journey starts here, right now – by looking into the mirror

The Lean Audit allows you to score health and maturity level of any manufacturing and service operation in just 4 hours. As a result, you will gain new insights to jump-start your Lean journey. For more information, get the Lean Audit workbook (available on Amazon - click here); it summarizes the findings from our 8-year research on 106 companies worldwide and offers practical advice on how to implement the 20 keys, so you can jump-start your journey to world-class.

For any question or feedback, I'd be happy to hear from you; just mail me at joerg@leanmap.com or call +41-799377370.