More Cheese, I mean Lean, News from Badger Land


    JS Online:Going lean brings long-term payoffs

    Here is a column written by John Torinus, the CEO of a Wisconsin company. They are still early into their lean journey, but it sounds like they might be on the right path — with not just lean tools, but also with lean culture.

    A few tidbits that I liked:

    “The lean gurus always hammer home the absolute requirement for executive leadership. In the same breath, they stress that the journey must be driven by workers. Clearly, this paradox has to be dealt with, since both have to be there. It's top-down and bottom-up concurrently.

    We resolved part of that issue by creating a Lean Guiding Coalition of nine people: two executives, the five lean champions and two co-workers from the shop floor.”

    The CEO is asking the same questions that Luke asked earlier:

    “Few companies, including Serigraph, have figured out how to align compensation with lean objectives and metrics. Any concepts out there?”

    “While we are happy with our outcomes to date, we have come to realize that we have just scratched the surface. Companies that have five years of lean experience under their belts say the same thing. So does Toyota, the godparent of lean theory and practice. Toyota has been at it rigorously for more than 25 years.”

    50+ years really. Yes, it is a long-term committment. I think Torinus' company will find even greater success when they think of it less as “doing lean” and more as “running the company,” once the lean ideas are engrained.

    Update: I meant to point this out:

    “At my company, Serigraph Inc., where we are about one year into our lean journey, we are spending about a half million dollars a year on five full-time lean champions, a consultant known as a “sensei,” training time for all co-workers and time for kaizen events.”


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    Mark Graban
    Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


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