At Global Solutions & Services (GSS), we believe it is important for clients to understand the the twin pillars of Lean: Continuous Process Improvement (the elimination of non-value added activities) and Respect for People.
Continuous Improvement (CI) is an ongoing effort to improve products, services or processes through the elimination of waste. Waste is anything for which your customer is unwilling to pay. Value adding activities are those your customer is willing to pay for. If they are unwilling (which is expressed in a variety of ways) the activity is waste. Eliminate it, simplify it, reduce it or integrate it. These efforts seek "incremental" improvement over time or at times "breakthrough" improvement all at once. Processes are constantly evaluated and improved based on their efficiency, effectiveness and flexibility.
The three principles of Continuous Improvement are:
Challenge: A long term vision of the challenges we must face to realize our ambition. It’s really what we need to learn as opposed to what we want to do and then having wherewithal to rise to that challenge. We have to challenge ourselves daily to see if we are achieving our goals.
Kaizen: Activities that continually improve functions and involve all employees from the CEO to the assembly line and customer service people.
Genchi Genbutsu: Going to the source to see what’s really happening, making the right decisions, and creating consensus.
Respect for People
"Respect a man, and he will do all the more." - John Wooden
In the U.S., the principle of Respect for People is not as well known as Continuous Improvement is and though it sounds simple, it’s not. The proof is in the poor state of leadership in organizations of all types, the types of management decisions being made, company policies, and performance measures being used (if there are even any).
“Respect for People” is built on two principles:
Respect: Taking every stakeholder’s problems seriously, making every effort to build mutual trust and taking responsibility for other people reaching their objectives.
Teamwork: Developing individuals through team problem-solving and developing as well as engaging people through their contribution to team performance.
You Can't Do It Without People
Everyone is familiar with how difficult it is to attract reliable and trainable people. A reputation as an organization that doesn’t value and respect its people sets the stage for constant struggle, turnover and poor productivity. If, however, an organization simply views people as an expense, then nothing will help them become leaner.
The trick is creating a culture that sustains all your employees. What would your employees answer if they were asked if their work was valued, whether their opinions matter, whether their ideas are welcome, whether they are treated with respect, whether they are evaluated and rewarded on their performance and whether they believe the leadership acts with integrity.
In his book Moments of Truth, Scandinavian airline CEO SAS Jan Carlzon made the following points:
1. Everyone needs to know and feel that he or she is needed.
2. Everyone wants to be treated as an individual.
3. Giving someone the freedom to take responsibility releases resources that would otherwise remain concealed.
4. An individual without information cannot take responsibility.
5. An individual who is given information cannot help but take responsibility.
At Global Solutions & Services, Inc., we take the principle of Respect for People as seriously as we take every other Lean principle or tool of the Lean Philosophy and we'll encourage you to do the same.
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