5 Simple Practices to Demystify Lean Management

5 Simple Practices to Demystify Lean Management

The term lean management is usually viewed with some skepticism due to the misunderstanding that its implementation requires a high degree of complexity and involves large investments. Previously, we have said that the tools and practices of lean management are, for the most part, simple to implement and that many projects fail due to lack of evaluation of the cultural aspect and lack of change management practices. In order to break this paradigm, you’ll see in this article the simple part of Lean deployment. After all, in a world where people tend to value complexity, using mathematical models, programming and sophisticated software, it is worth noting the simplicity of some management practices that are part of the Lean Management model.

5 Simple Practices to Demystify Lean Management
5 Simple Practices to Demystify Lean Management


Lean Management Source

The term ” lean ” was originally used in Womack, Jones and Roos (1990), “The Machine Who Changed the World”, based on a comprehensive study of the global automobile industry conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT ) where the advantages of the Toyota Production System – TPS ( Toyota Production System ) performance were evident . There are several management practices in TPS and the purpose here is not to detail all of them, but to highlight some that are simple and important to the success of the system deployment.


1 – Daily Round Floor

The first practice worth mentioning is related to the daily routine of leaders (managers, supervisors and coordinators). In the philosophy of Lean Management, two terms that draw attention are: Gemba and Genchi Genbutsu. In a literal translation, the first term means “the real place” or “the place where truth is found,” and the second term means “go and see for yourself.” In a translation of our own, we conclude that the terms mean “go to the shop floor and see for yourself where things happen.” How often do we come across leaders complaining that their daily routines are full of non-operational activities and little time left to go to the operational area? Thus, the first practice of Lean simple to implement in companies is the creation of a daily round of leaders on the shop floor, including timing and preparation of forms to verify important items.


2 – Daily Performance Meeting

Still referring to the daily routine of leaders, another good management practice in line with Lean Management is the performance of daily performance meetings with the team. Generally, these meetings occur shortly after the start of the shift, and are cross-functional, with the presence of leaders from different sectors. In industrial areas, for example, the presence of professionals responsible for planning & scheduling, operation, maintenance and engineering are fundamental to the quality of the meeting. In relation to its dynamics, it analyzes the main performance indicators and assigns the tasks to the team members.


3 – Visual Management: Vista Management Panels

Another very strong emphasis on Lean are the practices Visual management ( Visual Management ), which make accessible and transparent, various information for the teams. One of the fundamental practices is the creation of performance indicators, their goals and a system of monitoring and control of them. We are not talking about sophisticated and expensive solutions, but rather a tool for exposing the expected results (goals) and realized, which can be even a simple panel with a manual data update. In addition to the results of indicators, the management dashboards can bring other relevant information, such as health & safety, layout, improvement projects, process flows, etc.


4 – Visual Management: Luminous or Sound Signs in case of anomalies

Also related to visual management, a very interesting tool is called Andon, which is a panel that uses luminous and/or sound signals to warn that there is some anomaly along a production line. The objective is to give the team agility in the treatment of these anomalies, that is, to stop production preventing defective products from being produced and, from the investigation of immediate causes, to define actions to quickly re-equip equipment, seeking a minimal impact on the pace of production. The investment with this type of tool can vary a lot, but as we are talking about simplicity, it can be, for example, a light signal triggered manually by the team. This tool is part of one of the pillars of TPS (see figure below), Jidoka, which stands for automation with a human touch and emphasizes the importance of stopping and notifying process abnormalities.


5 – Standardization

As we can see in the TPS Framework, the basis of it is stability. At this point, it is worth emphasizing the importance of p adronization as the fifth simple practice. In addition to being a management practice of low complexity and low investment, benefits are obtained that are relevant to organizations, such as predictability of results, retention of knowledge in the company, uniformity of execution and ease of training of new members of the company. team. It is worth remembering that prior to the standardization of processes, it is necessary to prioritize what is really to be standardized, in order to rationalize this effort and focus it on activities critical to the achievement of the expected results.

That said, we summarize below the 5 Lean Management practices that can be implemented in a simple way in your company:

  • Round of leaders on the shop floor, using checklists ;
  • Creation of daily meeting of the performance of the leaders with their teams, to verify the achievement of the goals and distribution of the tasks;
  • Implantation of management panels in view of the performance indicators;
  • Implantation of panels for the emission of sound and light signals in case of anomalies;
  • Standardization of critical activities.

We demonstrate, therefore, that it is not necessarily a high management maturity or a high investment to begin the implementation of some basic tools within Lean Management. Of course, there are more complex tools, but they can be used as the first results are achieved and management maturity evolves. A recommendation for a company that wants to start implementing a Lean Management model is to create pilot projects with well-defined scope limits so that results can be obtained more quickly and that these results motivate the other areas and teams to implement as well.

It is worth mentioning that this is the simple part of the implementation of a Lean Management model in companies since the most complex part is the cultural aspect. It requires a change of behavior so that the implemented management practices have longevity. Principally, leaders should be responsible for creating a cooperative and trusting environment that encourages the generation of ideas for continuous process improvement, so that team members are free to report problems that occur on the shop floor.

And then? Do you still believe that the implementation of Lean Management requires a high degree of complexity and involves large investments? Share with us your opinion and your doubts about it.

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