Thanks to an already hectic travel schedule, including going to Japan this Friday, this was the first year in many that I wasn't able to make the annual conference of the Association for Manufacturing Excellence. This is always my favorite conference as it is the largest lean conference in the world, but more importantly because it is put on by practitioners for practitioners, and therefore is more grounded in the real world of lean manufacturing.
I did send five people again this year, and have found it is a great motivational and reward tool for both managers and individual contributors. One of them sent back some notes from just the second day of the conference, and I thought I'd share them with you.
Good morning Kevin
Incredible day and some amazing speakers. Major take aways:
- Prepare a solution, not a product
- Lean is not a set of tools, it is a culture
- You must sustain greatness that is what a leader does to create World Class manufacturing
Dan Jones, Chairman Lean Enterprise Academy UK:
He REALLY motivated me!
- No longer about Lean tools and chasing Muda, It is about sustaining lean processes and developing lean problem solvers.
- The choice is to accelerate lean implementation or wither away!
- It is time for decisive ACTION!
- Lead Value Stream Projects with Lean visual project management
- Give strong Value Stream Manager end to end responsibility
- Top Management to remove obstacles
- Create high level Lean Council to initiate cross function projects, review results/progress and resolve conflicts
- A Team of high potential leaders to think outside the box and make the impossible possible
- Develop people using A3 planning to teach everyone to see the right things
- Teach line managers to respond quickly to problems by asking questions rather than issuing instructions
- Never assume you know the answer
- Focus on the struggle of the employees. What can help them succeed
- Good results come from good processes
- Decision at the Gemba based on facts
- Improvement is a line resposibility in dialogue with the staff
- Do away with improvement rolled out from central staff
- Go see ask why
- It is about management leadership getting it DONE!
Ken Goodson, Executive VP Op, Herman Miller
- Not a fad diet it is a life style change
- Top down commitment! They do not have to understand lean just be fully committed
- It is ok to be messy! But ACT! Quit planning!
- Celebrate the small victories and learn from the mistakes
- Capture the gains and reinvest
- periodically set very aggressive goals
- Set the rewards for the intent rather than the results.
Matt Long, Lean Coordinator Herman Miller
- Stop, look and listen at the Gemba
- tools are not enough
- Be careful tools do not progress faster than the people on the floors knowledge and understanding
- Think about the tools: Why do I want to implement, What are my business needs, What am I trying to solve
- People are the resource
- Kaizen is a way of life
- Go see
- Collect facts
- Emphasis o investigation
- Think deeply
- Think about human capability, where are the gaps
- top down learning so they can encourge the behavior
- Learn by doing
- develop your own thinking
- Write it down with A3 on the floor with a pencil
- Human development plan, where are they now and what do they need to implement plan
- Department A3 with weekly plan on how they will meet their goal!
Ok, that is all for now!
Imagine having five people come back into your organization after experiencing five days of such lessons. Controlling and channeling that passion is a leadership issue in itself, but an issue I'll take any day. Whenever I send people to learning events I ask them to prepare a presentation to my staff and the continuous improvement teams listing what three to five things they learned that we should implement now, and what are three to five ideas that are pretty cool and we should consider in the future. That provides focus and a record of learning.
Next year's AME Conference will be in Cincinnati. Start planning now.