So you have read the blogs, scoured the web sites, devoured the books and listened to peers at conferences and you want to have a go at Lean. Why not? Everyone is at it. Even the NHS is giving it a go.
But how exactly do you start? Your conviction and enthusiasm is about to come steaming out your ears – or maybe you kinda like the sound of it and want to test it a little before you roll it out to the whole enterprise.
Okay, one way to start would be to get on the phone to someone like me, a Lean consultant, and they will use their years of experience to tell you what is right for you. But I am going to assume that my phone will not start ringing off the hook right after I upload this, because you, rightly, want to test the water before diving in.
First you need to know who you are. Not in a navel gazing, fluffy, zen kind of way, but in a practical sense. Who are you in your organisation? Are you the CEO? A board member? A director of a division? A middle or line manager? A technical expert (this could be a doctor or any specialised worker, not necessarily a techie type)? Or are you on the shop floor doing the real work of the business?
Also who are you in terms of influence? Have you started off similar programmes before? Were they successful? If you are not the CEO, can you get support from people above you? Are you the influencing, persuasive type? Do you have a network to draw support from?
I ask these questions because these are the questions that I ask my “initiators”, the individuals that I go to see. And sometimes it comes about that the people who bring me in have just enough influence to get me in to see someone else but not enough to carry through the programme. But they are happy to get the ball rolling.
So, how far can you push a change to Lean? Do you need to gather some support before you try anything?
Ponder this, and next time I will give a few ways, from small to large, that Lean can get started in an organisation.
Whoever and wherever you are you can get going, but some ways of starting are more appropriate depending on your current situation.