Creating a kinder, wiser work environment
Lean is a heartfelt commitment to completely eliminate waste from work. The biggest waste being failed relationships and dumb decisions, lean isn’t about slash and burn cost reduction, it’s about creating a kinder, wiser work environment where every person has something to say about how work is done and how it could be done better—with less waste—for themselves, our customers, and our colleagues.
How do we tackle a new situation in a lean way?
TAKE A WALK
Right away, before we get dragged into the fire-fighting (which will unavoidably happen). We take a walk to visit a few customers, internal and final, to meet the people who do the value-adding work and to understand our partners and suppliers. We take a walk to see things firsthand, for ourselves. This doesn’t mean we ignore the data, but that we complement the data with facts—what the people who do the work actually think about the work.
This is a disciplined walk. We don’t go there to immediately reinvent and redesign how everything should work. We go there with the specific aim of trying to imagine how we could get what is there to work better, before changing it:
- How could safety be better?
- What would make customers happier?
- Are there specific points where we could be more flexible?
- What would make us more productive?
- Is there any way to obviously reduce costs?
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