Implementing lean transformations in any type of facility can be very difficult, and when done improperly they can cause significant problems both for the short term and in the future. The benefits of a properly implemented lean transformation, however, can be extremely powerful and help companies of all types run much more smoothly and even improve the profit margin the company is able to bring in. Looking at key reasons why lean transformations have failed with other companies is a great way to know what types of things to avoid so it doesn’t happen again. The following five things are responsible for many failed lean implementations.
Lack of Strategy
Too many companies learn about the benefits of lean strategies and decide to implement them immediately. When they don’t plan out how it will work every step of the way it can be a recipe for disaster. It is much better to take a step back and look at each area that will be affected so the implementation does not cause any unwanted problems.
Another mistake many companies make is thinking that if they simply copy the strategies of another company which has successfully implemented lean concepts, they can be successful as well. Even when attempting to emulate a company in a similar field this will often result is a failed implementation. Every company is unique and what works for one may mean disaster for another. Taking the time to plan out a custom strategy for a specific company is the only way to have a truly successful lean strategy in place.
Educating and Engaging Employees
Many companies make the mistake of thinking they can plan out a great lean process and put it in place without ever considering how it will affect the value adding employees. This is a mistake because it will not only cause problems with the morale of the employees, but also because they won’t know how to properly implement these things into their day to day jobs. When people aren’t engaged and properly educated they won’t be able to make smart decisions in how things should be done which will almost always result in major problems.
No Management Support
While not engaging and educating employees can be disastrous, trying to implement a new lean transformation without the support of management can be just as troublesome. Lean strategies have a dramatic effect on how things are done throughout a facility which is why it is so important to have buy in from managers throughout the facility as well as the executives. It may take longer and require more work to get this support but it will go a long way toward ensuring the success of the program.
Having the ability to measure success is one of the most important things with lean strategies. When implementing this type of change it is essential that everyone knows what they will be measured on and how people will know whether they are successful or not. When people are being told multiple different things that they are rated on they are unable to perform up to their potential and it will cause far more problems than it could possibly solve.