WOW! What a conference!
The Printing Industry of America put up a great selection of speakers and trainers at the Continuous Improvement Conference in Indianapolis for the last three days. On Sunday afternoon I got in an spent four hours in an intense session Lean Overview taught by Ed Hiava, from the Purdue Manufacturing Extension Partnership. He took us on a WILD journey making Lean exciting and easy to comprehend! He opened my eyes to “the way” – I felt like “The Karate Kid” with Miyagi learning from a master!
Ed’s session made the rest of the conference have follow his lead… but you know what it just go better! The keynote speaker Dr. Alan Robinson blew us away… He showed us that it’s not about asking for ideas, it’s about asking for problems. People will tell you about the problems and issues they are having, but ask them to come up with ideas and they dry up! Then how do you deal with all the ideas/problems… have you ever started a suggestion box program? And found yourself overwhelmed and not able to respond to the volume… then what happens is that the people don’t continue on with the ideas as they see you are not committed to doing anything with them.
Dr. Robinson went on to tell us how to receive problems/ideas and engage the people that are bringing them to you… If you want to know how – contact me and I will go through the process! I will give you a hint it is not rocket science!
After being blown away by Dr Robinson I spent two more days drinking from the fountain.
Now , I am not going to tell you that over two days I have become and expert, but with what I have learned and my real life experience of implementing Lean at Coastal Printing, I feel ready to re-kickoff again.
I realize now that it is not the operators that are making the change-overs fast enough, it is we the management that have not given them the opportunity to improve. We don’t take the time to examine the possibilities of improvement, as we (the management) think it is more important to keep the presses running.
Front line employees hold 80% of the knowledge of how to improve the processes they perform, however, we constrain them to not vary from the approved process steps (even when they know that by changing it they will improve their performance). Again not their fault, it’s our fault as managers for not giving them the time and tools to improve their performance.
Lean Manufacturing is not about saving money (getting Lean).
It’s a systematic approach to identifying and eliminating waste through continuous improvement by flowing the product at the pull of the customer in the pursuit of perfection!
It’s a way of doing business, not a flavor of the month or tool!