As sure as the world keeps turning, change keeps happening. Change is scary. It pushes us out of our comfort zone. “Continuous Improvement” and “Innovation” are both code words for change, and both are essential elements of every successful organization. A requirement for a successful long-term continuous improvement (C.I.) journey is a culture that encourages and promotes change.
Many organizations begin the C.I. journey by making the commitment to create a position of continuous improvement manager. However, C.I. must be everyone’s job. One person alone will never make a company LEAN. To achieve true success everyone must be focused on seeking improvements to the way they do their job. Each person views the organization through a different lens and it is the collective visual of all that drives transformative change. The C.I. manager can be the coach, the facilitator, the scorekeeper and the cheerleader, but success demands that the entire team be engaged in a LEAN culture.
The tone is set at the top. It is critical that the LEAN culture begins at the top of the organizational chart. Without ongoing leadership support, LEAN initiatives inevitably fizzle and die. Daily pressures have a way of overriding long term gains. The best of intentions can be swallowed up by the crisis of the day. Without high level support of the LEAN culture, any improvements that are made will not be sustained.
Here at MANTEC, we continually hear from our manufacturing clients about the critical skills shortage. One simple way to help alleviate that shortage is to increase productivity; in other words, implement LEAN techniques. As customer demand increases and talent becomes scarce, LEAN is the vehicle to produce more with the workforce you have.
The pace of change continues to accelerate for all of us, and it’s not going to slow down. Our ability to grow and prosper depends upon our ability to embrace change and drive a culture of continuous improvement.