End of the Journey
What happened to cause the failure of this lean implementation? It may appear that I am picking on management, supervisors, and operators more than any other employees. But change comes from the top of an organization and trickles down through the rest of the company. Change can begin with only a few key people. When they embrace change fully, they can begin to change the culture of the rest of the company. Those who manage the operational processes of an organization must be the ones who drive lean implementation and positively present the lean philosophies so that others will embrace them without resistance. Upper management must show total commitment to the process and must demonstrate its ability to hold people accountable for adhering to the changes.
I could have written a highly detailed book about the struggles at X-Corp, but this chapter is sufficient to show how easily an attempt at lean implementation can fall apart because of poor management commitment. I do not mean to imply that engineers, kaizen champions, and technicians do not make mistakes on a lean journey. They do. However, the key players are the ones who set the vision, and change the company culture, with a firm demonstration of commitment and accountability. That responsibility lies with upper management.
Dealing with any change is difficult, and, unfortunately, there is no perfect template to use as a guide. But as you’ll learn in Chapter 2, there are ways to define and develop the kind of insight within your company that will help ease your journey. In addition to having commitment from leadership, you can make your lean program much more successful and fulfilling by avoiding or reducing the kind of small mistakes that companies often make, a topic we turn to next.