Lean Training for your lean journey

 

Lean Journey Roadmap
for a typical Lean Transformation

Lean training to implement lean flow

 

Phase 0) Firefighting

Phase 1) Prepare your Leadership

 

 

 

 

Yellow Brick Road

Phase 2) Design each Value Stream to Flow

flow spigot

The primary goal and measure
of a Lean Transformation is Flow

Phase 3) Analyze, Stabilize, Visualize,
and Standardize each process

for those processes that your team chose
as your top priorities in your Value Stream Plan

Acid Test — Is this value stream lean?

Phase 4) Use Lean Management Systems
to Continuously Improve

Firefighter and alligator cartoon

Bookmark = fire

Phase 0) Firefighting

Before your Lean Transformation begins

Weary fire fighter

your leaders and managers spend most of their time reacting
to things like:

If continuous improvement tools and methods are used at all

they are perceived as a potential quick fix for the 'problem of the moment'

Your Lean Transformation usually begins when

your leaders and managers decide to be proactive

and decide to investigate the time-proven approach of cultural Lean Transformation

and light bulbs start clicking in their collective minds

that lean tools and lean methods were never intended to be used independently,

that every lean tool and method is designed to be part of an inter-connected lean system
that supports and is supported by an underlying lean culture

And once the light bulbs have clicked,

those leaders and managers can never again be satisfied
with going back to playing the role of the weary fire fighter

Bookmark = what

Before you begin, your top leaders need to learn...

What is a Lean Transformation?

The end goal of a Lean Journey is...

flow spigot

The focus of a Lean Transformation
is Flow

Every member of this Value Stream Team
can see the flow of value to the customer,
and fix that flow before it breaks down

There's no way to fully understand that with only one reading.
It is worth reading again and again until you fully digest it.

Notice that there is no mention of "waste reduction",
or any of the other Lean Ideals, Principles, and Objectives.

Those desirable results will happen naturally,
as side benefits when you...

focus your initial efforts on one goal:

Flow

How is a Lean Journey different
from a Continuous Improvement Journey?

1) The goal is flow

There are dozens of worthy objectives
that you might seek to continuously improve.

You might seek to improve quality, reduce cost, improve your management systems...

If, however, your primary focus is not to create and sustain flow...

then you might be on a continuous improvement journey, but it's not a lean journey.

(There's nothing wrong with choosing a different focus for process improvement.
Just know that the training on this page is for a Lean Journey.)

2) It has an end

When you have completed Phase 3 of your Lean Journey,

there is an acid test:

Invite a first-time visitor to visit your work area for the first time.

Ask her to stand at your clearly-marked Process Observation Point, and then ask her,

"Is this process flowing as expected?"

(ideally with no further instruction, but perhaps she might need a very brief introduction for how to read your at-a-glance visual control that makes flow visible for this process)

Her answer is either yes or no... red or green... no yellow.

When every work area in your entire value stream passes this acid test...
(repeatedly and reliably over time)

then you have arrived.

Yes, you can and should continue to improve from there, but you can claim with confidence...

"Our Lean Transformation is officially, measurably, undeniably successful,
because every member of this Value Stream Team can see the flow of value to the customer,
and fix that flow before it breaks down."

"And hey, look... all of those other cost savings and culture transformations just kind of happened on their own while we were so focused on just one thing... flow."

 

Yellow Brick Road

3) It has a clearly defined path

There is no "search for low-hanging fruit".

No "look for a quick first win".

No "brainstorming".

The path to quickly transform ANY value stream to a measurable, undeniable "state of flow"

is a well-worn, teachable, repeatable path

and that path is clearly mapped on this training web page.

Before you begin, perhaps do a Gap Analysis

Lean Assessment template

Download your free trial
Lean Assessment template

Perhaps perform a Lean Assessment

(also known as a 'gap analysis')

to define strategic target conditions,

and gaps between reality and those targets.

A lean transformation isn't the only option

The conclusion of your gap analysis might be to focus on some other priority

before (or instead of) a lean transformation.

For example, you might choose instead to focus on

Animation - many lean tools

All of these (and many more) are very valid alternatives
to embarking on a full-scale lean transformation at this particular moment.

and you will find many of your Systems2win templates to be extremely helpful
for many of these smaller scale continuous improvement projects

If you do, however, conclude that your collective team might be ready to consider taking on "the big one" (cultural transformation)...

then this training is for you

Before you begin, your top leaders must commit

An organization-wide Lean Transformation

requires a deep level of commitment from your organization's TOP leaders

 
Before you begin a Lean Transformation, your leaders must commit
 

(not just middle management)

Lean Transformation for a single value stream

requires a deep level of commitment from the TOP executives and managers responsible for that value stream.

If you do not have believable, passionate commitment
from the top leaders of at least your value stream,

then don't start.

You are wasting everyone's time.

Either:

  1. Choose a less ambitious goal

    See the section above,
    as well as our training for how to start your Lean Journey
    in different leadership environments.

  2. Consider changing your jersey

    to join a team that has leadership with philosophies more aligned with
    your understandings and beliefs about how to succeed in your career


Bookmark = lead

Phase 1) Prepare your Leadership

Establish your Leadership Infrastructure

Who: Continuous Improvement Steering Committee, and Continuous Improvement Leadership Team

Continuous Improvement Leadership Roles template

Define titles, roles, and responsibilities
for your Continuous Improvement Leadership Teams

Use your Systems2win Word template as a starting point:

Continuous Improvement Leadership Roles (LeaderRoles.docx)

Launch your Continuous Improvement Steering Committee

Use the same process to launch any type of Continuous Improvement Team

Team Empowerment Boundaries

Define Roles & Guidelines for your Value Stream Team

Use your Systems2win templates as a starting point:

Make available: Expert facilitators to coach process improvement teams

Internal facilitators (from your Continuous Improvement Leadership Team)

Outside consulting for any missing expertise

Enlist or remove anchor draggers

Some of the foundational features of a lean culture

are to encourage everyone to develop 'eyes for seeing problems',
and to provide a safe environment to surface problems without fear,
and to openly debate ideas at the right times.

And yet once decisions and commitments are made…

then everyone needs to pull together.

Withheld involvement, unhelpful complaining, and active sabotaging cannot be tolerated.

Initiate Lean Management Systems

Start with where you are

It is impossible to institute robust lean management systems
before you have made flow visible and manageable.

So just start with where you are.

treasure map

No one could possibly rise to a level of leadership
without having adopted some form of routine accountability habits.

Start with a few small tweaks

At this early stage (before flow is made visible)...

it is probably premature to invent more than 1 business day
to improving your already-familiar routine accountability habits.

cartoon: kid digging for treasure

At this point, simply tweak
your already-familiar routine accountability habits to be slightly:

  • More routine
  • More accountable
  • More focused on your new priority:

    Getting everyone to focus on their responsibilities
    to make flow visible and manageable


Bookmark = growth

Define your Growth Plan for Job Security

Who: Continuous Improvement Steering Committee, and your entire Executive Team

If you need to fire people — do it now

If your head count is already too high...

then get your staffing level corrected NOW — before you begin anything associated with the word "lean".

Job Security Promise template

Make your Job Security Promise very public

Use your Systems2win template as a starting point to draft your own Job Security Promise.

And then publish it in prominent places throughout your work environment,
and make it a big-deal centerpiece of training and motivation for every team that you charter from now on.

Create your Growth Plan

For your Job Security Promise to have credibility...

you're going to need a believable Growth Plan.

If you're not going to cut jobs...

then your strategic planning needs to give special attention to answer the question:

What ARE we going to do with all that time and money
that gets freed up as the result of our continuous improvement successes?

Use your Job Design template

Job Design Matrix template

As processes get frequently re-designed...

Use your Job Design Matrix template

to carefully design alternative career options for each potentially affected person.

For your Job Security Promise to have credibility...

you need to have systems (not just good intentions)

to honestly care for your people


Define your Value Streams

Who: Continuous Improvement Leadership Team, and Continuous Improvement Steering Committee

Define value streams based on Product Families

(for simplicity, we use the term “Product Families” for both product and service families)

Product Family Matrix template

Use your Product Family Matrix template

to segregate your offerings into clearly-defined product families

There is usually 1 primary value stream map per product family

Define supporting value streams

In addition to the value streams that provide value directly to your end customers,

you will (eventually) also define "supporting value streams"
that support your "production value streams"

Examples might include:

Purchasing, Accounting. Human Resources, etc.

Almost always, these supporting value streams will actually be segments of a larger (customer-facing) value stream:

Segments that are shared by multiple value streams.

Segments that are very similar between multiple value streams.


Prepare your Library of Lean Training Materials

Who: Continuous Improvement Leadership Team

Begin to accumulate and organize your training materials

Systems2win templates, online training, and videos can be used for a large portion of your needs.

Also create and organize your own PowerPoints, PDF's, videos, interactive games, etc.

Systems2win Portal

Your Systems2win Portal provides a well-designed user interface for Systems2win templates and training.

You will also want to design your central hub
where your users can find your other tools and training.

And you will want a prominent link from your central hub to your Systems2win Portal,
so that your users can find everything in one place.

Road map for your own lean journey

For years, we resisted our customers' requests to provide a "road map for a typical lean journey"

Yellow Brick Road

because we didn't want to suggest anything that might conflict with the diverse recommendations of the diverse value stream managers that use these same tools in diverse ways.

And yet, the truth is that most situations aren't nearly as unique as they initially appear. These suggested steps, tools, and methods will provide a pretty valuable starting point for MOST lean journeys.

Just keep in mind that there are many routes to the top of any mountain, and any seasoned lean veteran might adjust some details of the tools, methods, or sequence — based upon the unique conditions and objectives of each unique situation.

We hope you enjoy YOUR lean journey

and we thank you for choosing Systems2win to be a part of it

Define your folder and file naming conventions

Use your Systems2win template to clearly define your organization's Document Storage and Naming Conventions

  • to avoid broken hyperlinks between related documents
  • to reduce or avoid the need for an expensive and complex Document Management System
  • to reduce or avoid the need for an expensive database administrator

Teach your leaders how to teach

Mentoring is different from teaching. Your leaders need to be good at both.

For better teachers... teach your teachers to use your Systems2win Training Design templates:

Training Session Agenda template
  • Training Session Agenda
  • Training Session Planning Checklist
  • Training and Skills Cross Training Matrix
  • TWI Job Breakdown Sheet
  • Work Instructions
  • Pocket Cards
  • Training Session Evaluations

Choose your next Strategic Challenge Goals

Who: Continuous Improvement Steering Committee, and your entire Executive Team

Do another Gap Analysis

Lean Assessment template

Download your free trial
Lean Assessment template

Someone who has substantial process improvement experience

(who might be an internal team member or external consultant)

performs a Lean Assessment

(also known as a 'gap analysis')

to define strategic target conditions,

and gaps between reality and those targets.

Start with Flow

As we emphasized in the text box at the top of this page (titled "What is a Lean Journey?")...

If your foremost primary objective is anything other than to design your value streams to optimize flow,

then you are NOT on a Lean Journey.

(It is okay to be on a Process Improvement Journey with goals other than flow,
but just recognize that all of the training on this page is not for you.
It is for teams that have chosen a Lean Journey.)

If your organization HAS chosen to pursue a Lean Journey,

and you still have any value stream (or a segment of a supporting value stream)
that is not currently in a sustainable state of lean flow...

Strategic Targets

(as measured by the "first-time visitor acid test")

then there should be nothing strategic to talk about
for that value stream.

The strategic objective for that value stream is simple and non-negotiable:

Bring this value stream up to a sustainable state of flow.

Take your Strategic Planning to the next level

Once every work area within a value stream
has an obvious Observation Point
where any visitor can easily tell you
whether things are flowing as expected...

then (and only then) that value stream is ready to take on more advanced Strategic Challenges.


Bookmark = flow

Phase 2)
Design Each Value Stream to Flow

A lean journey is traveled by a Value Stream Team

Yes, the there is an overarching lean journey traveled by your Continuous Improvement Steering Committee and Leadership Team that does span multiple value streams and segments of value streams,

waving goodbye

but that overarching lean journey soon splits into:

One Lean Journey per Value Stream Team.
One Value Stream Team per Lean Journey.

There is only one value stream per Product Family

but each value stream might be divided into segments, and many segments are comprised of “enabling” or “supporting” value streams, often shared by multiple value streams.

Each value stream and/or segment will have its own Value Stream Team.

A single Change Agent might have responsibility for multiple value streams

but every Lean Journey is traveled by its own Value Stream Team,

even though some individuals might be a member of multiple Value Stream Teams.

Your organization chart does not require a person with the title of 'Value Stream Manager'

and you don’t have to re-organize your formal management structures around value streams

(although both of those might be something that you eventually evolve toward…)

but you do need one (and only one) manager who has ultimate responsibility
for the performance of each value stream

(and remember, every value stream spans many functional departments)

and you do need to form a Value Stream Team

as the first step of the lean journey for each and every value stream.

Launch your Value Stream Team

Who: Continuous Improvement Leadership Team, Value Stream Team

Use the same process to launch ANY type of Continuous Improvement Team.


Complete your first round of Value Stream Mapping

Who: Value Stream Team

Value Stream Map

Follow the instructions for how to do value stream mapping

and use your value stream mapping tools

to complete your first Current and Future State Maps,
and to socialize your first Value Stream Plan.

Each time that you successfully implement each 3-12 month Value Stream Plan

you will do another round of value stream mapping and planning,
and you will repeat another cycle of continuous improvement.

value stream mapping process flowchart

Follow the instructions for how to do value stream mapping


Conduct an Executive Postmortem

Who: Continuous Improvement Steering Committee, and Continuous Improvement Leadership Team

post-mortem

Shortly after the final Report Out Briefing Meeting
for every Value Stream Mapping Event,

your top leadership team should meet
to analyze and discuss what went right and what could be improved.

This is also the ideal time to reflect

on any executive-level policies that might inadvertently be creating barriers to flow or inadvertently encouraging other undesirable behaviors.


Bookmark = process

Phase 3) Analyze, Stabilize, Visualize, and Standardize each process

Each process in the value stream comes under the spotlight individually

as the Future State Value Stream and Plan
provide True North design criteria for every process in the value stream.

For any process, your leaders might choose to split into sub phases

For a simple process, or a process that has already been improved many times...

your leaders might choose to combine Analyze, Stabilize, Visualize, and Standardize into one intense Kaizen Event

It is also common to split these into 2, 3, or even more sub-phases.

Launch the Team

Who: Continuous Improvement Leadership Team

Use the same process to launch ANY type of Continuous Improvement Team.


Analyze each process

Who: The Coach, and Process Improvement Learner or Team for this process

Perform process analysis

Each process has its own Key Performance Indicators and Key Behavior Indicators

(supporting the value stream KPI’s and KBI’s)


Bookmark = stabilize

Stabilize each process

Who: The Coach, and Process Improvement Learner or Team for this process

Design the process to meet the value stream plan

Yamazumi template

Tools & methods to design processes to meet the value stream plan might include:

Yamazumi work load balance chart, standard work analysis, spaghetti diagram to design cellular work layouts, clearly-marked FIFO lanes, supermarkets (with or without kanbans), heijunka box or pitch chart, different standard work and perhaps cell configurations for different takt demand levels, etc.

Additional tools & methods for Lean Office Flow might include:

Processing cells with pre-defined meeting times, workflow cycles, electronic and paper FIFO lanes, etc.

Establish routine 5S habits

5S Red Tag Log

Everything has a place and everything is in its place.

Safety is routine. Cleaning and maintenance are routinely performed.

Routine 5S Audits remind workers to be continuously vigilant

to maintain a safe, clean workplace

where problems are easily identified as soon as they surface

and to establish a lean culture

where people know they will be rewarded (not crucified) for exposing problems

(because problems can't be solved until they are exposed)

Deal with quality issues

FMEA template

Once you get started with actually implementing flow in your real world

it won't be long before you realize that
the most common barriers to flow are quality problems.

Methods and tools for quality improvement, might include root cause analysis fishbone diagram, Pareto chart, and other problem solving tools. FMEA Failure Mode Effects Analysis, Control Plans, SPC Control Charts, poka yoke mistake proofing, etc.

Cartoon of an unstable process

A process is stable when

it is capable of safely producing a consistent output

that meets current customer demand

on schedule, with consistent quality

Tips for stabilizing a process

Reduce variability by isolating it.

One of the best ways to stabilize a process is to standardize it.


Bookmark = visualize

Design Visual Controls for each process

Who: The Coach, and Process Improvement Learner or Team for this process

Make release of work (to your pacemaker) visible

Pitch Chart template

Use a Heijunka Box, or a Pitch Chart, or a Job Log, or invent some other creative way to make visible how work is scheduled and released to your (one and only) pacemaker operation.

Use Team Boards

Most teams should have a Visual Team Board

where the team meets for a daily Stand Up Meeting,
in front of their physical bulletin board displaying the most important documents and charts used by that team.

Establish Observation Stations

Team Accountability Board

Use a Layout Diagram to clearly identify Observation Stations

These are the places where your first-time visitor will stand when you do your Acid Test for visibility of flow.

These are also the places where every member of your team (and every member of management) knows they can stand (or just quickly walk past without even stopping) to know how things are going — with one quick glance.

At every work center — make flow visual

Use FIFO lanes, supermarkets, kanbans, and perhaps invent your own creative ways to make the flow of work as visible as possible. (and be sure to use your Systems2win templates that are designed to make flow visible for different types of work centers)

In the office, visual work is even more important

How might you design FIFO lanes containing physical folders?

Pull Queue Status

How might you get creative to design your own visible means of seeing the rhythmic pulse of your Pitch Cycle(s)?

How might you set aside Processing Cells? (with the equipment needed for workers to perform specialized tasks as the team gathers to work together at pre-determined times)

How might you make visible the on-time status of Workflow Cycles performed independently by each worker? (the work they do to process information going into and out of your Processing Cells)

Bookmark = acid

Acid Test for Visibility of Flow

When your lean visual management systems are in place for a work area,
you should be ready for the acid test.

Invite someone unfamiliar with the work area
to stand at the clearly-marked Process Observation Point,

ideally with no further instruction, but perhaps with a brief explanation for:

1) how to read your at-a-glance visual control chart that makes heijunka flow visible for this process

2) how often it is updated — which usually coincides with your Pitch Cycle

(which is measured in hours; not days)

and then ask...

Is this process flowing as expected?

The answer should be either yes or no. (red or green... no yellow)


Acid Test for Lean Transformation

Identical.

The Acid Test for Visibility of Flow doubles as the Acid Test for Lean Transformation.

You have arrived.

When every process in your value stream passes the Acid Test (repeatedly over time),
then the Lean Transformation phase of your Continuous Improvement Journey has been successfully completed.

Yes, you should continue to improve

but you can claim with confidence...

"Our Lean Transformation is officially, measurably, undeniably successful,
because every member of this Value Stream Team can see the flow of value to the customer, and fix that flow before it breaks down."

And hey, look... all of those other cost savings and culture transformations
just kind of happened on their own while we were so focused on just one thing... flow.


Institute Standard Work for each process

Who: The Coach, and Process Improvement Learner or Team for this process

Standard Work Audit template
Training Matrix
Leader Standard Work

Document everything that every team member does

Every routine task is standardized.

Standard work is clearly visible and easily audited.
Everyone always does every routine tasks the standard way.

You will often use multiple types of documentation

to understand and improve the same process
from different perspectives for different purposes.

See online training for your many Systems2win tools
for diverse types of Standard Work

Cross Train

Cross train your people, and use your Systems2win Training Matrix to track progress.

Introduce Leader Standard Work

A first-level team leader might spend 50-80% of her day doing Leader Standard Work.

Her boss, maybe 30%. The CEO, maybe 3%. No one has zero standard work.

Acid Test

When you have successfully implemented Standard Work,

then the Acid Test for Visual Work should be reliable and trustworthy

at all times

It's pretty easy to stage one successful demonstration of the Acid Test

(which just so happens to coincide with when the VP is visiting)

When you have successfully implemented Standard Work

Anyone walking past that work area at any time
knows they can trust the visuals to be current and accurate — at all times


Bookmark = improve

Phase 4) Use Lean Management Systems to Continuously Improve

Establish Systems to Self-Heal Flow

Who: Value Stream Team, Continuous Improvement Leadership Team

Your goal isn't just 'flow'

Your goal is 'self-healing flow'

that does not require management intervention to operate, or even to fix itself.

Every member of this Value Stream Team can see the flow of value to the customer,
and fix that flow before it breaks down.

When you have self-healing flow, management intervention is rare.

Focus on Visual Management Systems

Although there are several components to a well-designed Lean Management System,

everything else will follow naturally

if you focus on Visual Management Systems.

Improve jidoka swarming systems

When something goes wrong

that your people can't handle without management intervention,

swarm to resolve the issue quickly.

Then remove the need for jidoka swarming

As you progress on your lean journey, your kaizen events and other lean management systems should be primarily focused on creating standard work for how to handle things that might disrupt flow.

Or more correctly, how your workers can handle those things without management intervention.

Flow Chart

Decision Logic Flowchart

This is when you might use tools and methods like:


Bookmark = stress

Lower the Water Level

Who: Value Stream Team, Continuous Improvement Leadership Team

Each time stability is achieved — stress the system

Each time stability is achieved — lower the water level

Firefighter and alligator cartoon

to expose the "rocks and alligators" that lie hidden beneath the surface
of your current levels of inventory or time allowances.

Ways that you might stress the system might include:

The most common "rocks and alligators" to emerge will be quality issues

so you will often reconsider your preparedness for more and more advanced quality tools and methods, such as Built-in quality, Poka Yoke, FMEA, TPM, OEE…

Each time that a person's career is affected

use your Job Design Matrix and other Change Management tools
to ensure that every employee smoothly transitions to rewarding new roles.

NEVER renege on the Job Assurance Guarantee
that you make such a big deal about every time that you launch a new team.


Continuously Improve your Processes and Systems

Who: Value Stream Team, Continuous Improvement Leadership Team

Use your Lean Management Systems

to define and reach continually-improving strategically-aligned milestones

toward Lean Ideals, Principles and Objectives

to improve flow within and between every process within every value stream

Continuously improve your Lean Management Systems

When (and only when) your value stream is in a sustainable state of flow

then for that value stream, (which might be more advanced than some of your other value streams),

your Continuous Improvement Steering Committee and Leadership Team can shift their focus

from the Lean Journey (which is always focused first and foremost on Lean Flow)

to other potential Strategic Challenges of a Continuous Improvement Journey.

Potential Strategic Challenges such as:

Better Lean Management Systems

PDCA Coach Coaching

Kaizen Event leadership. Kata Coaching. Gemba Walks. Audits. Team Boards.
Stand up meetings. Leader Standard Work. Shu ha ri leadership development.
Team Charters. Lean Accounting Systems. Version control for your tool library.

Better Strategic Planning and Policy Deployment

X-Matrix. Catchball. Decision making tools & systems. Change Management.

Your Growth Plan. Customer partnership. Supplier partnership.

Better systems for problem solving

X Matrix Excel template

Better root cause analysis, kaizen events, A3 projects, PDCA Coaching Cycles...

Better systems for quality assurance, control, and improvement.

Design for Six Sigma, and systems to proactively avoid problems before they disrupt.

Better employee training, coaching, and motivation

Cross training. Training systems.

Results management. Pay for team performance.

Leadership development.

Yes Continuous Improvement really is Continuous

but don't let it overwhelm you

If you only take away one thing from this training page...

it should be this:

Your Continuous Improvement Journey doesn't start until your Lean Journey succeeds

And unlike a potentially confusing and endless Continuous Improvement journey,

there's nothing confusing or unattainable about a Lean Journey

The Lean Journey path is very well-worn, very clearly marked,
and your arrival at the clearly-defined final destination is very easily measured...

Does THIS value stream pass the acid test?

Can a first-time visitor stand in a clearly marked Process Observation Point for each process in the value stream, and (without further instruction) correctly tell you whether or not each process is flowing as expected?

Yes or no?


Once your value stream is sustaining lean flow

everything else will ease into place

Trust the process

and enjoy your lean journey


If your organization does not yet own sufficient seats of Systems2win templates to empower every team member...

Contact us to discuss your unique lean journey