LeanBlog Podcast Episode #9, is a discussion with David Mann, the author of the excellent book Creating A Lean Culture: Tools To Sustain Lean Conversions. In this Podcast, we will talk about Steelcase’s experience with the their lean efforts and the realization that they required a “Lean Management System” for supervisors, managers, and leaders. We’ll talk about what that means, why it’s a critical feature of their Lean System and how to start making the transition to being a “lean leader.”
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LeanBlog Podcast #9 Show Notes and Approximate Timeline
- 2:10 Started with lean, being asked to help with communications at Steelcase about 10 years ago
- 2:50 Steelcase’s original “case for change” regarding lean
- 4:45 How do you prepare people for change?
- 5:15 Changing away from an old established piecework system (80 years of history)
- 7:20 Had worked with Toyota-trained consultants, had “technically perfectly fine lean designs” but they were falling apart when project teams left
- 8:28 “The Toyota guys were like fish and we were asking them ‘what’s it like to be able to breathe underwater?'”
- 8:55 Baseball great Ted Williams
- 10:15 “Needed a different behavioral recipe”…. for leaders and supervisors, what do you need to do to sustain lean conversions? After 30 value stream conversions.
- 11:00 Concluded they needed a “Lean Management System” (how to manage) to complement the “Lean Production System” (the arrangement of the floor, material flow, etc.)
- 12:45 Needed to focus more on the process, not just results
- 13:00 Need to see how actual measures up to expected… and ask “why?”
- 13:40 “If you take care of your process, your process will take care of you.”
- 14:00 How do you work to transition traditional supervisors into lean supervisors, being a coach, being a leader? What about resistance to standard work for supervisors?
- 15:00 “It requires a leap of faith” and then small steps (e.g., visual controls, like a production control chart — put your initials on the hour-by-hour chart 4x per day and ask why when you see a chart not being filled out).
- 17:00 At first lean was more work for the supervisors, but they tried convincing them that it will eventually make their lives easier (if they take care of the system)
- 18:25 “Lean system are more high maintenance than mass production systems” (for the superivors and team leaders) — it made sense to create standard work for them (80% of their time is accounted for by standard work).
- 19:25 Tell me more about the hierarchy of checks within the organization…
- 20:30 Managers at different levels are spending a certain amount of their time checking the standard work of the manager below them
- 21:45 David tells a story about letting a manager lapse back into the old fire-fighting mode instead of following his standard work
- 24:50 Being a hero versus proper planning
- 26:30 What kind of timeframe would you use for evaluating whether or not a supervisor can make the transition to the lean way?
- 30:00 It becomes easier to see faster in a process-driven management environment that mirrors the discipline of the production environment. It becomes clear in a matter of weeks… can’t do it or won’t do it
- 31:20 Steelcase and the industry went into a historic recession after the dot com bubble and 9/11… demand fell 45%, so many people left, but those still left in management positions were the ones who had really embraced lean
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