My colleague, Joe Torrago, recently wrote a blog addressing the issue that we are often asked by Kansas manufacturers what we know about making the types of products they produce. Joe’s response? “The answer quite simply is probably nothing. You heard me right, I said we may know absolutely nothing about how to make your product.” Interesting response, right? Well, read Joe’s blog for some very compelling thoughts on this issue.
With that being said, to build on that interesting response, I would like to address a related question that business leaders/CEOs often ask us – “Why should I listen to you? Prove to me that you know more about this thing called Lean Manufacturing than we do.”
Over the past 20+ years of working with Kansas Manufacturers, I have learned several things. One is that CEOs tend to listen to other CEOs, probably with good reason. The other is that Lean Manufacturing will only succeed when it is an integral part of the strategy of the organization, actively led and supported by the CEO. So then how can we prove to the CEO that he should listen to us? What do we know about Lean that others don’t?
The short answer is “We don’t.” We’ve read the same books as you, we’ve attended the same workshops and have even benefitted from conversations with members of the team that developed the fabled Toyota Production System. But, knowing and using are two different things. And that’s our answer to the CEO, our proof, if you will.
Knowing that Lean is a strategy that is all about growth, and not the latest cost-cutting process improvement methodology, is not enough. You must be able to make it real, to use it, to make it a way of thinking throughout your organization. And that’s what we do, we help you make it real. We may not know much about your business processes, but we do know how to improve them, how to ask “why?” not “who?". We use what we know to coach, to guide your efforts, to mobilize everyone in your organization to work together. Our mantra is “Everyone, Everywhere, Every Day, Working for Improvement.” Ours is not just a one-off success story passed from one CEO to another but a well-tested approach we have used, learned from and improved – one that works.
Do you have the courage to take that first step in using the most powerful improvement strategy you could have, one that will leave your competitors standing? Give us a call and let’s have a conversation how Lean can work for you – we’ll listen to you, will you listen to us?