In most companies, people are hired by Human Resources according to criteria and policies set by HR and senior management – education requirements, background checks, aptitude tests, etc… Once hired, they are paid according to a scale set by HR and senior management, and are given raises – or not – according to those policies.
Machines and tooling are bought – or not – according to capital investment policies – hurdle rates, rate of return, etc… set by finance and senior managers.
Materials are procured by Purchasing folks from suppliers they selected according to supplier selection criteria of management's design.
Production is scheduled by Supply Chain people working from sales plans and forecasts, processed through software acquired at the direction and under policiess set by senior management.
The product specifications are established by product engineering, and audited by quality control personnel.
So …. production managers and supervisors have virtually no authority or control over people, machines, materials, schedules and specifications.
Our management processes tend to have a hefty element of control – to assure that decisions about production are made by those whose job is to 'support' production, instead of by those responsible for production. Management processes tend to keep production people in a pretty small box.
It is rather silly, don't you think, for senior leadership to think a corporate lean transformation is going to take place on the shop floor alone - entirely within that little box. Seems more logical to assume the dimensions of the box are going to have to change considerably if leadership wants shop floor results to change in any big way.
It also seems we wouldn't be so desperate for 'out of the box thinking' if we didn't put the people actually creating value in such small boxes to begin with.