December, 2007

A publication brought to you by the Manufacturers Alliance

Subscribe | Join MA
Upcoming Events

February 7th 2023 09:00 am
- The Role of the Leader Online

February 8th 2023 08:00 am
- Creating Process Maps

February 9th 2023 08:00 am
- Sustaining Lean Culture Through Leadership Changes

February 14th 2023 09:00 am
- Learning to Solve Problems Supervision Fundamentals Certification

February 15th 2023 09:00 am
- The Role of the Leader

February 16th 2023 08:00 am
- Conflict, Communication and Collaboration

February 21st 2023 08:00 am
- Learning to Solve Problems 6 Sigma Green Belt Certification

February 21st 2023 09:00 am
- Leadership Style & Versatility Online

February 22nd 2023 08:00 am
- Root Cause Analysis

February 22nd 2023 09:00 am
- Learning to Solve Problems Supervision Fundamentals Certification

Article Index

Lean Office: Involvement at All Levels
Article by: Kelley Buckentine
So you've recently launched your lean initiative, embarking on an endless journey of waste elimination, customer focus, and employee empowerment. Your executive team is on board, prepared to walk the talk and lead through visible participation, not just proclamation.
Book Review: Leading Teams*
Article by: John Hehre
For most of us, school days are long past, meaning group projects along with them, right? Not really - although "team" is perhaps a more elegant word for group, the truth of the matter is that when more than one person is working on a project, they are likely to encounter problems and issues.
2008 Manufacturers Alliance Forecast
Article by: Manufacturers Alliance
"What's sight without vision?" said Helen Keller. This familiar quote still has a great deal of meaning. To that end, the Manufacturers Alliance responded to local manufacturers' requests for new workshops and Leaders Alliance peer groups in 2007 and will continue to grow and change with its members in the coming year.
MN Economic Condition
Article by: Dr. Ernest Goss
For the month of December 2007, reported January 2, 2008. For the third straight month, Minnesota’s Business Conditions Index dipped, moving below growth neutral to 47.3 from November’s 50.8 and October’s 54.1.
ADVERTISEMENT
Lean Office: Involvement at All Levels
So you've recently launched your lean initiative, embarking on an endless journey of waste elimination, customer focus, and employee empowerment. Your executive team is on board, prepared to walk the talk and lead through visible participation, not just proclamation.

You're excited for the future of your business but you're just not sure how you're going to get this new lean thinking spread throughout your organization as quickly as possible. Being on a kaizen event is one of the best initiators to learning lean, however, it is not realistic to have everyone participate on a kaizen team in the short term. What do you do?

With a little creativity and time investment, you can spread the basics of lean through your organization in no time. Here you will find a couple of tried and true case studies.

First Case:
A service organization typically has staff deployed out in the field, ready to provide the value add to your customer at a moments notice. However, with today's technology, these employees rarely report to your office. They are your front line, the ones that leave the lasting impression upon your customers. Because they work with your processes daily, they are typically best positioned to identify what works and what doesn't. This input is valuable to your lean initiative.

How do you deploy lean to this group not confined within the four walls that the rest of the supporting staff occupy?

One company developed short training sessions, known as a Passport Program, an introduction to lean. Because lean is a journey, a passport seemed like a fitting analogy.

Each of the required sessions were a half hour in length. Just the lean basics were introduced: Understanding Paradigms, 6S, Standard Work, and Waste Identification. Each session included an activity to apply the principle learned.

At the conclusion of the sessions, each employee was required to come up with one improvement idea and implement it. This call to action was called a JDI, or "just do it". It was important to get employees comfortable with initiating change themselves. The truth is, every employee has ideas of how they could do their job more efficiently, but how often do we ask them, or create an environment that welcomes their input? Too often we've conditioned our employees to only do what they are told, rather than to think on their own. The first step to employee empowerment is allowing employees to affect change.

You can also make a little contest out of it, rewarding and recognizing some ideas that may have had a significant impact. As you progress through your lean journey, this JDI could morph into an MDI program, managing for daily improvement.

Second Case:
You're a manufacturing firm that started your lean journey on your factory floor. Your Office staff hears bits and pieces about this lean stuff, but hasn't officially been introduced to it since the focus remains in production. The office staff is anxious to be a part of this lean journey. They've heard about the successes and want to make a contribution to this winning process.

You could start your focus with the office on the basics of lean. The first component of lean, per Taichii Ohno, is 6S. 6S principles apply to wherever work is performed. You could creatively name your 6S training event (we used "big bang" as it conjured thoughts of new beginnings).

The 6S training was set up as a train-do approach, one S at a time. On the first day, there was training on "sort", and then all attendees returned to their workspace to perform sort for the set amount of time. The next day we tackled the second "s" and so forth.

We included a contest element to add some fun to the event. Prizes for the most improved area, weirdest thing found, oldest thing eliminated, et cetera, were presented at the end of the week.

It was a hugely successful launch of lean on the business process side of the organization. And, with weekly checklists and monthly audits performed by executive staff, the transformation has been successfully sustained.

Now, how can you get your entire organization on board and understanding the basic lean tools, through a fun, interactive way to start you on your journey of becoming a world class organization?

The most untapped improvement opportunities are in the OFFICE! Learn how proven manufacturing improvement processes may be adapted to office systems by attending the Lean Office Mini-Series. Click here to learn more.
<img src="http://www.mfrall.com/newsletter/authorpics/KelleyBuckentine.jpg"align="left">Kelley Buckentine is a dynamic lean leader, energetic trainer, and is certified as a 6 Sigma green belt with experience on both sides of the fence: operations and marketing. She may be reached at kelley.buckentine@gsnai.com

Back to Top

ADVERTISEMENT
Book Review: Leading Teams*
For most of us, school days are long past, meaning group projects along with them, right? Not really - although "team" is perhaps a more elegant word for group, the truth of the matter is that when more than one person is working on a project, they are likely to encounter problems and issues.

Fortunately, these problems and issues can be minimized with careful planning, leadership and management.

Many books have been written about teams. Some deal with specific topics such as dealing with conflict, improving communication or perhaps simply managing teams; others are more broad in scope. The best of these are based on sound research or solid practical experience and we've reviewed a number of them in the past in this column. The pressure to produce results quickly, however, can make it difficult to spend the time required to read and digest multiple resources. Furthermore, when an organization has a long history of using teams in a variety of situations, academic texts may be unnecessary.

Leading Teams is a short yet concise book that provides an essential checklist for organizing, leading and managing teams, along with techniques for troubleshooting problems that typically arise during the course of a project.

The book is divided into seven sections. The first three sections cover the development of teams, discussing types of teams, benefits and problems commonly faced by teams and personnel selection. This section also stresses the importance of establishing a clear purpose along with well defined goals and expected results when forming the team. This theme is repeated throughout the book as many problems that teams encounter can be traced back to poor planning at the start.

The next three sections cover the management and leadership of the team throughout the life of the project. The section on leadership describes the job of the team leader including the importance of his or her ability to communicate well, set goals and deadlines and maintain a cohesive and productive climate. A section on handling problems typically encountered by teams provides suggestions and checklists for resolution. Evaluation of performance includes ideas for measurement and evaluation methods for both individuals and the overall team.

The last section contains a long list of tools which provides a great reference for those needing specific direction. The tools are mostly forms that can be applied throughout the project. Examples include forms for startup, self evaluation, feedback, and problem resolution.

People and organizations that frequently use teams will benefit from the well-organized checklists and tips the book contains. It would also be a useful reference for new team leaders. There is a long list of additional references at the end of the book for those who do want more in depth reading materials.

* Leading Teams. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation, 2006

To reap the full benefit of Lean methodologies, the entire organization and culture must be transformed through effective leadership. To learn about the upcoming Leading, Training & Influencing Mini Series Click here
John Hehre is a senior operations executive and provides interim management and project based consulting to mid-sized private companies in need of transformative change. He can be reached at jhehre@cprocess.com.

Back to Top

ADVERTISEMENT
2008 Manufacturers Alliance Forecast
"What's sight without vision?" said Helen Keller. This familiar quote still has a great deal of meaning. To that end, the Manufacturers Alliance responded to local manufacturers' requests for new workshops and Leaders Alliance peer groups in 2007 and will continue to grow and change with its members in the coming year.

"I see a growing need for education and resources dedicated to lean supply chains and lean leadership issues." said association president, Art Sneen. The association recently launched a new Lean Leaders Certification to help individuals proficient at using lean tools to become stronger leaders and trainers of others. For manufacturing professionals not opting for the Lean Leaders certification, the association has introduced two leadership mini-series that may be taken independently. One series will focus on leading, training and influencing others while the second will focus on planning, measuring and assessing your team's Lean progress.

That's not the only new training from the Manufacturers Alliance. We are also offering a supply chain mini-series. Course content will focus on helping manufacturers reduce inventories, improve material availability and increase asset utilization. Our instructors from Andersen Corporation and Imation Corporation have significant experience with eliminating hiccups in tight supply chains.

There are plans to continue to expand the Leaders Alliance peer groups. Based on recent requests from several members, we are considering launching our first Quality group. Monthly sessions will be comprised of quality managers, engineers, auditors, and similar functions. They will have the opportunity to tour each other's facilities, benchmark world-class companies and share best practices and new quality tools.

We are looking forward to another great year with the aim to make 2008 your best year ever! Feel free to visit www.mfrall.com to learn more.
The mission of the Manufacturers Alliance is to provide peer-to-peer training, education, and resources which inspire manufacturing companies to continuously grow, improve, and stay competitive.

Back to Top

ADVERTISEMENT
MN Economic Condition
For the month of December 2007, reported January 2, 2008. For the third straight month, Minnesota’s Business Conditions Index dipped, moving below growth neutral to 47.3 from November’s 50.8 and October’s 54.1.

Components of the overall index for December were new orders at 44.7, production at 52.6, delivery lead time at 50.0, inventories at 50.0, and employment at 41.0. “The Minnesota economy continues to be battered by weakness in housing and durable goods manufacturing. This has raised the number of unemployed by almost 10,000 from the same time last year. Based on our survey, I expect the jobless rate to rise by another 0.2 percent in the first quarter of 2008 before it stabilizes,” said Goss. The best of 2007: Finance and Insurance. The worst of 2007: Telecommunications
Dr. Ernest Goss of Creighton University, used the same methodology as The National Association of Purchasing Management to compile this information. An index number greater than 50 percent indicates an expansionary economy, and an index under 50 percent forecast a sluggish economy, for the next three to six months.

Back to Top


Copyright © 2011 Manufacturers Alliance. All rights reserved.
Thank you for reading the Manufacturers Alliance E-Newsletter.