We have had several requests for help on designing a training program for organizations just starting out on the Lean journey. Obviously every situation is different, however here’s a path that we have used when working with several companies.
- Initial education of the champion
- Initial education of the executive team
- Develop the Lean plan
- Education of the team and organization
- Execute the Lean plan
- Ongoing education of the organization
This is very simplified, as the Lean plan and especially the execution component are extremely critical and can be very complex. However from a pure training standpoint, it works.
Initial Education of the Champion – The Champion may be chosen by management or she may chose herself in an attempt to better the organization. To learn about the fundamentals of Lean, we would recommend:
- Internet research at websites such as Superfactory
- Two great books: Better Thinking, Better Results by Bob Emiliani, which details the successful Lean journey of The Wiremold Company, and The Gold Mine, an entertaining novel about a company that turned itself around using Lean methods.
Initial Education of the Executive Team – As the Champion will soon learn, one of the critical components of a successful Lean transformation is the full support of the executive management team. This team will want to know why and how Lean will be implemented… especially the why. We recommend:
- The Lean Manufacturing Overview downloadable PowerPoint presentation at Superfactory, which details the major concepts and benefits.
- Reading Better Thinking, Better Results by Bob Emiliani. Although it is often difficult to get some managers to actually read a book!
From this information the Champion and the executive team should put together the Lean Plan.
Education of the Team and Organization – Now it’s time to educate the entire organization. Start with the core team responsible for Lean, then expand throughout the entire company.
- Use the Lean Manufacturing Overview presentation as part of a "brown bag lunch" or formal training session.
- Watch the What Lean Means video from AME, also available at Superfactory.
- Supervisors, managers, and team leaders should read The Gold Mine, an entertaining novel detailing a lean transformation.
Execute the Lean Plan – This is the most complex component. Most Lean Plan’s walk through the core concepts of Lean, such as 5S, Value Stream Mapping, Kaizen, Total Productive Maintenance, etc. For each concept, detailed training is necessary. We recommend:
- The Champion goes through deeper, hands-on training at applicable workshops. The Association for Manufacturing Excellence puts on numerous top-notch workshops throughout the year. Other similar workshops can be found on the Superfactory Events Calendar.
- The Champion then trains the team and organization on the concept, perhaps by using the PowerPoint presentations available at Superfactory.
- An excellent workbook that walks you through the implementation of the various concepts is Implementing World Class Manufacturing, by Rubrick.
As the organization proceeds down the Lean path, the Champion, executive team, and entire organization will need ongoing training on new concepts. It is also important that they stay up to date on new methods and concepts, and also share their successes with others. For this we highly recommend the annual conference of the Association for Manufacturing Excellence. This is generally the largest Lean conference in North America, if not the world. It is also unique in that the presentations, workshops, and tours are all from practitioners… the people that actually executed Lean. The real world.
Every organization will be a little different, however this is a rough outline of a Lean training program we have used successfully at a wide variety of organizations.