Lean Management Systems and Lean Management Tools
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Bookmark = System
Lean Management System
Every element of every lean production system should be simultaneously implemented with a corresponding
lean management system to support and sustain it.
Essential elements of a lean management system
Bookmark = tools
Lean Management Tools
Team Leadership tools
If it is true that "management is the art of getting things done through other people",
then it will be a rare manager indeed who does not need to lead one or more teams.
When you download your free trial, you get...
- A dozen templates that your teams will use for process improvement
with a 60-day trial period
- A dozen templates that you will use for lean team leadership
with no expiration date
Use your new lean management templates for the rest of your career — free
because our gamble is that once you become familiar with your Systems2win templates that have
- consistent, standardized features, help, and training
- language translations for your global team
- live technical support
you will wonder aloud...
"Why are we paying our expensive lean leaders
to try to invent, re-invent, and support inferior tools?"
Lean Assessment template
to assess the progress of each team's lean journey
- Easy-to-understand-at-a-glance trend charts, thermometer charts,
and radar chart
- Easily personalized with your own assessment criteria
- Completed by all levels of leadership on a periodic basis
- 5-minute review serves as terrific mental preparation
for your weekly gemba walk
Lean storyboard, Six Sigma story board
Before & After Storyboard
Very motivating, and extremely easy to use:
- Personalize your working document
- Publish and Socialize
- Maintain a 3 ring binder of implemented ideas for each team
for your Team Leaders, Department Supervisors, Value Stream Managers, and top-level Executives
Leader Standard Work
Strategic Planning and Policy Deployment
Someone needs to climb the tallest tree to see above the forest.
And then it's not enough to just choose a strategic direction and set a few strategic milestones.
You need systematic ways to communicate that vision, inspire others to share and extend that vision, and to actually pull together toward that inspiring future.
Kaizen Event Leadership
Tools to lead a Kaizen Event
Your Systems2win templates include an entire suite of templates to
- Plan a Kaizen Event
- Lead it, and then...
- Follow up to measure results to ensure that the desired changes stick.
Templates for A3 Management
Some of your team members aren't willing to be locked in a room for a multi-day Kaizen Event?
(Doctors? VP's? Customers? Suppliers?)
Templates for A3 Management
No problem. Your Systems2win templates also include an entire suite of templates for A3 Problem Solving and A3 Management.
Not just the A3 Template that is a free gift when you download your trial, but an entire suite of templates to take your A3 Management to whole new levels.
PDCA Kata Coaching templates
As part of your Improvement Kata routine habits, use your PDCA template for Learner and Coach to maintain a record of past experiments, results, and learnings — and to plan your next PDCA experiment.
Immediately after each coaching session, your Coach's Coach uses the PDCA Coaching Observations template to mentor both you and your Coach to more fully embrace the teachings and habits of both the Improvement Kata and the Coaching Kata.
Publish your printed PDCA Coaching template
on your Team Accountability Board to serve as a Lean Storyboard.
Project Management tools
Lean leaders usually prefer one or more of the above (more time effective) ways of managing teams, but there are times when traditional project management tools and methods are still the best choice.
(think Christmas Party, moving to a new facility, implementing new software...)
Your Systems2win templates also include a suite of templates for traditional Project Management.
Team Training tools
A big part of being a lean manager is being a lean trainer.
Your Systems2win Lean Management bundle of templates comes with a Training Session Planning template, a Cross Training Matrix, Excel Self-Paced Learning, and more.
And most Systems2win customers own all 4 bundles of templates, which include many additional lean training templates, training pages, and videos to teach your people what they need to know as they turn each next corner on their lean journey.
Not sure which tools to consider
as you round yet another corner of yet another twisting lean journey?
Your Tool Selection Matrix allows you to use Excel's powerful Filter features
to systematically narrow down your options
to the few templates that are most likely
to guide you and your team
to use the right tool for what you need next.
that come with the other 3 bundles of templates for process improvement
All of the above templates come with the Lean Management bundle of templates.
The scary truth is that all of the above tools and methods don't actually accomplish anything other than to set the stage to make it possible for a team to actually change something.
The best lean leaders don't just "manage". They lead.
They lead by example.
They physically go to the gemba (the place where the work is done)
and they themselves demonstrate competence to personally use some of the same lean tools and methods that they want their people to use.
Some of the more popular "hand-on" lean tools used by lean managers include:
- Value stream mapping
The primary bridge between lean management and hand-on process improvement
- 5S Audits
Because the only way that problems can be fixed is if they are first revealed
- Lean six sigma tools
Ideally to prevent fires, but sometimes because a fire needs to be fought
- Standard work audits
To ratchet gains — and prevent backsliding into old habits
- Full suite of tools and online training to shape the habits of your lean leaders
to systematically achieve that popular but slippery goal — to institute a lean culture
What drives cultural change?
Expectations for clearly defined behavior, and consistently applied processes for supporting it.
Every element of any lean production system must have a corresponding lean management system element to support it.
"If I had to choose between lean training for a new recruit to lead a lean area or providing him or her with a copy of clearly written standard work, I would choose standard work every time."
David Mann ~ Author of Creating a Lean Culture
Bookmark = Accountability
Lean Management systems to instill Lean Culture habits
- Gemba Walking
- Assessment Audits
- Leader Standard Work
- Stand Up Meetings
- Kata — Habits for Lean Coaching
Go to the place, look at the process, talk with the people
The primary purpose of gemba walking is to teach
Yes, there are many other benefits:
But the overwhelming primary purpose of a gemba walk is to teach.
When you are the gemba walker, you are playing the role of sensei (mentor, coach, teacher).
A gemba walk is a master-disciple, teacher-student form of learning —
where your goal as sensei is to ask questions (fighting your strong impulse to just tell them what to do)
that cause your student to see things differently,
to look at a process that may be many years familiar to them,
and to see it fresh and anew with "kaizen eyes",
suddenly seeing waste that has always been there,
but that suddenly becomes visible in an "aha" moment.
"Aha" moments happen only when a student is actively thinking, not just receiving information.
And the best way to trigger thinking
is to ask questions.
Questions designed to cause the learner to
see waste that they never noticed before,
and questions designed to stimulate the learner to
creatively apply lean tools, methods, and teachings
in creative, improvised ways that fit the needs of this unique situation.
Each unique situation almost always requires some invention and adaptation of lean principles.
In the real world, it is rare to be able to apply a tool or method in the exact same form that it was introduced in a book, or even in a Systems2win template. That's one reason that your Systems2win templates are written using Microsoft Word and Excel — so that it's easy to personalize them for your unique situations that you encounter on your lean journey.
The role of the sensei is to ask questions, introduce new tools and approaches, stimulate new thinking, teach, and (sparingly) to give advice... but the student should always be responsible for making all decisions. The only decision that the sensei makes is whether to continue working with the student — based on their follow through to commitments.
The primary benefit of this Socratic method of asking questions (instead of just telling answers) is that the student learns much more thoroughly. Thoroughly enough to soon start doing their own gemba walks with their own subordinates, with your student slowly but surely evolving into their own incarnation of master sensei.
The primary challenge of this gemba walk method of learning is that it is slow. It requires patience.
To be most effective, gemba walking should start from the top down. Gemba walking should ideally start with a very experienced consultant serving as the sensei for your President and executive-level Change Agent. Just seeing your top-level leaders out there on the production floor on a weekly basis will do wonders to deliver the message to everyone in the company that "this change initiative is different".
Let the boss be the
By nature, senior-level executives are far more comfortable in the role of leader, rather than learner.
So rather than putting them in the position of being a "student" right there in front of the people they manage,
it a much better idea for the consultant sensei to serve as a tactful mentor —
and yet allow the executive to play the role of sensei even on their first gemba walks —
Using the Lean Assessment template for gemba walk preparation
Yes, consulting time can get expensive,
and yes, most executives are quick learners
that will be very motivated to do some self-study so that they can quickly be as competent and comfortable as possible with this new highly visible role.
That's where the Systems2win Lean Assessment template is so valuable...
A quick 5-minute review of these lean performance evaluation criteria will quickly refresh the executive's mind with the things to look for and questions to ask on their upcoming gemba walk.
The purpose of a gemba walk is to observe what is actually happening at the place where the work is being done,
and to mentor by asking questions and perhaps introducing or reminding of potentially helpful lean tools and teachings.
Rather than entering data into the form after each gemba walk,
and rather than bringing a printed copy of this Assessment on gemba walks, we suggest instead to simply...
spend a few minutes reviewing this Assessment form prior to each gemba walk
as an excellent way to prepare yourself mentally.
A Routine Accountability Habit
Each leader's standard work should include periodic audits — using audit checklists to remind them of what to always look for, and to provide a written archive record that can be analyzed for trends.
Audit checklists can be created for anything
that significantly influences the effectiveness of any process.
How do you get diverse people to assess audit questions using consistent criteria?
Are you ready for your next audit?
A Routine Accountability Habit
Leader Standard Work checklists are carried and followed by every Team Leader,
Department Supervisor, Value Stream Manager, and top-level executive —
as a way to systematically get above-average results from average people.
A Routine Accountability Habit
The Systems2win Leader Standard Work template includes detailed suggestions for how to structure 4 tiers
of routinely-scheduled stand up meetings — usually held in front of the team's Team Accountability Board.
- Team Leader with production team members
- Department Supervisor with Team Leaders
- Value Stream Manager with Supervisors and support resources
- Executive or Plant Manager with Supervisors and Value Stream Managers
What are some field-tested guidelines for how to coach people?
What questions should I ask when I'm the Lean Leader on my gemba walks, or my audit discussions,
or the Leader Standard Work review meetings with my subordinates, or as part of regularly-scheduled
stand up meetings?
How does a lean coach think? And teach his people to think the same way?
That is the subject of the Coaching Kata habits
taught in Chapter 8: The Coaching Kata: Leaders as Teachers
of Mike Rother's book, Toyota Kata,
and his website expands the instruction even further in the Toyota Kata Handbook.
Mike's book, however, focuses on how to serve as a Coach for one specific process —
the Improvement Kata, which is appropriately used when one specific condition is encountered:
Navigating Unknown Territory.
If you are navigating unknown territory, then use your PDCA Coaching template.
If you are not navigating unknown territory, then you should be using your Tool Selection Matrix
to find a more appropriate approach for the challenge you are facing at the moment.
And every one of those other lean tools and methods needs a corresponding coaching system.
"The primary role of managers must shift from fire fighting
~ Dr. Shingo Shingeo
Bookmark = LeanCoaching
Lean Coaching habits for ANY Lean System
Every lean system needs a coaching system.
Suggestion: Bookmark this
section of this page,
and come back often
until these coaching habits
become absolutely ingrained
in everything you do
Here are some lean coaching habits that should become so ingrained
that they are "just the way we do things around here".
Coach your people to communicate suggestions and ideas
The document Author is the only one authorized and responsible to edit the document.
Everyone else suggests ideas that are then accepted, rejected, or revised by the Author.
See online training for how to communicate with the document Author.
Do 2 things at once
As a Coach, your goals are:
- to get things done
- to teach your people to use lean thinking in everything they do
Go to the place where the work is done — and observe what is happening for yourself.
Go there repeatedly. Most coaching should be done where the work is done.
Ask non-leading questions
The best questions might have more than one obvious answer — and cause your people to honestly think and reflect, and maybe come up with ideas that you might have never considered.
Ask leading questions
Don't let your Learner wander too far away from the general direction of the target challenge.
Expand your own personal competence with a wide variety of process improvement tools and methods,
so that you can suggest helpful field-proven systematic approaches to any challenge.
If there is no well-known standard lean system that exactly fits what you're trying to accomplish,
then use your Tool Selection Matrix to start with the closest one, then personalize it — using what you know about Lean Principles and your team's imagination to apply those principles in new, creative ways.
Have a 2nd Coach
Every sensei needs a sensei.
Every lean coaching system should include a systematic way to coach the coach.
Truth in humor
See our short article on
Bookmark = Training
Training & Demo Videos
More training for lean management
The Sample and Help worksheets of every template
Video: Introduction to
Bookmark = Reading
Suggested Reading and Resources
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These lean management templates