Term paper guerilla lean - 11157

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Term paper guerilla lean - 11157

  1. 1. 1 TERM PAPER TOPIC: GUERILLA LEAN MANAGEMENT IN OPERATIONS Submitted by: Vancheesh H, Section A, No. 11157 Date: 08-Nov-2012 An overview of Lean Management LEAN is a term which is familiar to everyone working in operations – be it manufacturing, supply chain, materials management, logistics etc. Lean Management is an important element of Lean concepts. The main difference between traditional management and lean management is that the former is result oriented while the other is process oriented. Lean assumes that any activity or expenditure which does not result in value generation to the customer is a waste and hence has to be eliminated. The process is developed and maintained such that it gives maximum value to the customer. It is a management philosophy derived from Toyota Production System and came to be called as „Lean‟ only later in the 1990’s. How Lean principles are applied in organizations? As we can see in the case of Toyota Production Systems (TPS), the lean principles were initiated from the top level management and were applied to the lower levels. It can be summarized in the following steps: 1. The senior management discusses and agrees on the lean vision, identify the project leaders and objectives 2. Communicate the vision and plan to the workforce 3. Form the implementation team from volunteers 4. Train the team on various lean tools and practices 5. Test the implementation on a pilot project and run it for 2-3 months 6. Evaluate the results and ask for feedback from everyone 7. Find out the positive results and ask supervisors to implement the new standards 8. Once it becomes a habitual program, go for the next lean tool. Select the one that gives maximum returns to business
  2. 2. 2 Does top management always support lean? The traditional process of Lean implementation shows that there is involvement of the management and the workforce from all levels. Hence, support from the leadership of the organization is very essential for the successful implementation of a lean system. However, in any manufacturing industry, many companies do not risk to be the front runners to implement a change in the system. This happens mainly because most of the CEOs in organizations come from finance, marketing or sales background hence they will not consider manufacturing as their strong suit. Operations come as a concern only when the quality is low or the costs are high. Under such cases where lean principles cannot be enforced from the top level, middle management step up and take a lead – by becoming Guerilla managers. The essence of Guerilla Lean Management “By laying the proper groundwork and working effectively with their peer group, middle managers can gradually implement lean practices and make big operational improvements without leadership from the top” – „Guerrilla Lean: Leading a Lean initiative from below‟, CSCPM Supply Chain Quarterly Change is driven in an organization only when a crisis happens. Very rarely, when top management can foresee crisis, they will adopt to change but in most cases, people do not come out of their comfort zone and hence resist change. When the top management is not willing to adopt change, it serves as an opportunity for the middle level managers to lead from below. For change to occur, three factors must come together – vision, need and ability. If an organization does not feel the need for a change, there will be no change. If there is no vision, then they will not know what is to be changed. And if there is no ability to make improvements that will sustain for a long period of time, there will be no change. Supply chain managers may recognize a future crisis and feel the need for a change, but since their concerns are closely related to operations they should be able to convince the management and also have a clear understanding on what the change can achieve. It becomes more difficult when manufacturing is involved. When one or more of the three factors is missing in the top level, the middle management can take up the initiative by implementing Guerilla Lean.
  3. 3. 3 Unlike traditional system, where the managers have authority and resources to implement change, guerilla managers have very few resources, operate under constant scrutiny and work within a loose chain of command. It is possible for a guerilla manager to implement Lean in the supply chain with silent support from the top management but without any top management leadership and hardly any investment required. But at the same time, since top management leadership is missing, the middle manager takes a big risk and is required to work carefully within the system. Some situations where Guerilla Lean can be used When the organization is undergoing reorganization in leadership or facing layoffs, losing customers or cancelling projects. Product development managers do not have sufficient experience in the field yet try to impose their limited knowledge and ideas in the organization. Leaders do not get involved directly in operations and do not listen to people about issues in process, tools and systems. Top managers insist on using outdated management methods or tools that do not fit the environment. Steps to implement Guerilla Lean There are certain specific steps to be followed in order to implement lean. Firstly, you must gain credibility as a leader by self improvement. Second, you must create an awareness and respect for the power equation in the organization. Third, you need to find out like-minded individuals in the organization and get their support to carry the initiative forward. Finally, you can implement the lean practices within your authority and influence. The effort can be copied to other departments, spreading throughout the entire organization and moving the company towards implementing a lean culture. 1. Establish credibility as a leader If a person wants to be a leader, others must have a reason to follow him. For top level managers, it is easy to drive change since they have the positional power to get employees to follow their orders. A middle level manager on the other hand has to rely on his skills and abilities to persuade and influence others. For a middle level manager to
  4. 4. 4 take the lead he needs personal drive and attitude along with strong communication skills but they may not have it inherently in them. They should shed the fear of public speaking and develop skills by joining public speaking programs. They should also learn to plan and prepare for presentations. They should also utilize every opportunity to teach others since it will help them to become more confident and also learn better. It is not enough to be persuasive the manager should also be sure about what he is talking about. Managers must possess strong technical skills such as expertise in Six Sigma, Quality Management and Lean concepts and a deep understanding of manufacturing and supply chain management. They also need to be well aware of general management concepts and current terms in management. Reading articles related to leadership and management will be helpful in this regard. Being thorough in accounting will be useful, since accounting is the language of business and helps in understanding the cost drivers of the company and understand how to make money from business. If you show that the initiative reduces cost and increases profit, it is the best way to get support for your ideas at any level in the organization. 2. Respect the existing power structure If you need to get support for your initiative from the superiors, the first step is to convince and manage your immediate boss. There are two important requirements to achieve this. The first is to align your agenda with that of your boss and also the organization as a whole. The manager’s agenda has to be fulfilled first before yours. For example, if the boss is critical about meeting a deadline or solving an important problem, they you should meet that first. If you have to implement a visual mistake proofing system but the boss is concerned about cost reduction and staying within budget, then you need to convince him that the your initiative supports his goals. If the boss feels that he is successful, he will grant more resources to his subordinates. Another thing which you can do is to identify the gaps of the manager and try to subordinate them. Some managers might be poor communicators while others may lack technical skills. As a subordinate, you can always fill those gaps and be sure to establish your objectives about your contributions and then move forward with your agenda. The second requirement is to regularly update your boss about the work he has assigned to you supported with accurate data and information. Managers can be kept in loop by giving weekly formal updates but also through informal daily chats regarding numbers.
  5. 5. 5 Communications should be brief and to the point, focus on data and use charts and graphs to represent them visually for easy understanding. The weekly updates should lay out major milestones, should follow the same format and maintain continuity. Do not send information to higher ups without the consent of the immediate boss. The reporting system also helps a secondary purpose that it helps you to form a management agenda. In addition to the information of the projects assigned to you, the reports should also contain a brief mention of your lean initiatives and how it helps in improving operations. Doing so will keep the boss informed and can help to gain more support. In the absence of an intervention from the boss, it is a silent approval of your lean initiatives and a signal to lead and grow ahead. 3. Rally the troops Successful operation depends on how the team works together and for a middle level manager you need to build a team of like-minded people who will support the initiatives. These are people who are most respected at work for their skills and not for their position. They will include a mix of formal and informal leaders. Even people who are negative minded can be converted and used in a meaningful way. Once you have identified the co-workers who want to be involved in the Guerilla lean effort, establish a common language with them and identify the issues and the opportunities at hand. Teaching them about lean manufacturing during leisure hours or off time will accelerate the progress. When the group has a common understanding of lean principles and zero down on a common objective, you are ready to move forward with a kaizen. The group evaluates the process in terms of value added and non value added activities and then focuses on eliminating the latter. Repeating the process a number of times yields continuous improvement which will benefit the organization. The traditional way to start kaizen is through value stream mapping (VSM). Under this, you have to visualize and document the current process and create a current state map. After identifying and eliminating the non value added activities, you form an ideal process flow called future state map. The team has to strive to achieve this future state. The VSM should consider the entire operations of the company even if it falls outside the control of the guerilla team. This is because the effect of the initiatives on the entire organization should be considered and also the lean system should be in sync with the company’s philosophy.
  6. 6. 6 4. Move forward When everyone in the team has agreed on the objectives, it is the time to implement the lean management principles in the operations. This can apply to manufacturing, supply chain, logistics and even office management. Kaizen efforts should be selected carefully since they are visible and hence need to get the support of the management as well as the peers. Start with areas which you have greater control and create visible gains which will create a buzz in the organization. An easy initiative to start with is the 5S (Sort, Set in order, Shine, Standardize, Sustain) that is conducive to lean production. A simple model can be applied called the Four Drivers of Lean Manufacturing. Implementing these 4 drivers will quickly simplify operations. a. Workplace Organization This ensures that each worker has a clean and safe work environment equipped with all tools, machines and materials required to perform an operation. Avoid clutter or unnecessary items from the work station. b. Uninterrupted flow This minimizes interruption and shop floor inventory. Ample number of equipments is placed to ensure constant production flow and minimize bottlenecks. c. Quality at source or error free processing This ensures quality in every operation and eliminates unnecessary rework. One way to implement it is poka yoke or mistake proofing throughout the plant. d. Single minute exchange of die The quick changeover of equipment ensures flexibility in manufacturing so that products can be made in any quantity and in any combination. Achieving early success in lean has several benefits. They will ensure subsequent changes in your area of influence. This will also help to bring more people into the team. Once the buzz is created, areas which have not tried it out in the organization will start implementing it. 5. Spread the word Even though guerilla lean starts under the area of influence of a middle level manager, it should be understandable to other departments and managers so that they can implement
  7. 7. 7 it in their own areas. Ultimately, the top management will be encouraged lean thinking and help the company to adopt a lean culture. Color and visual management systems used in lean manufacturing will not only help in organizing the tasks but also kelps in spreading the effort. People can visually understand the good it is doing and spark their interest. Also, the accountants have to be kept informed since they have access to higher levels of the organization. If guerilla lean leads to inventory reduction and cost savings/ increased cash flow, they will support the initiatives and also provide investment for additional efforts. Since effective lean supply chain starts with sales and marketing, you need to work backward through manufacturing, materials and suppliers and make them part of the change. It is difficult to get the top management in leading the effort. The leadership and communication skills along with the passion for the drive to change will help in effectively communicating it to all levels of the organization and getting their support. Do & Don‟t for success of Guerilla initiatives Do Don‟t Set reasonable and attainable goals Expecting wide acceptance for your initiatives Focus on problems right in front and under your control your Trying to solve problems that involves many departments Share the source of ideas with the team Sharing details of lean with uninterested people Experiment visual changes and use standard communication methods Expecting everything to succeed without criticism or resistance Get all stakeholders in sync about any changes Rushing to a solution without proper problem solving Learn to ask good questions Expecting to win stakeholders with logic alone “Soft Targets” for implementation
  8. 8. 8 The success of Guerilla lean depends on finding the right areas and taking advantage of them. Following are some areas which has led to better outcomes for individuals as well as teams and sometimes the entire organization: Communication mechanisms: email, websites, team meetings etc. Checklists, documentation templates and approval processes Personal workflow management: email, reminders, voice mailbox, time management Team workflow: activities, dependencies, status updates Shared spaces: equipment maintenance, facility setups, safety training Important learning Guerilla lean starts with individual using lean ideas to solve problems in front of him without drawing the attention of others to the use of lean ideas. Guerilla lean is an alternative to middle level managers in organizations with weak or resistant leaders who give more importance to immediate problems. Guerilla lean does not produce drastic changes, but it makes individuals more effective. References 1. http://whatisleanmanagement.com/2011/09/what-is-lean-management/ 2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lean_manufacturing 3. http://www.supplychainquarterly.com/topics/Manufacturing/scq201101lean/ 4. http://www.gmarketing.com/articles/52-guerrilla-problem-solving

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