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Bill Gaw's Top 12
Lean Manufacturing
Articles

Structure

Webster defines structure in this case as the arrangement or interrelation of parts as dominated by the general character of the whole. The structure of an organization is the formal and informal relationships between its indi­viduals, groups, teams, departments and hierarchical lev­els; in fact structure of an enterprise is defined by the operating entities each with its own boundaries and its own interfaces. Usually these boundaries are formally identified in organizational charts with titles and functions. Sometimes roles and responsibilities evolve or are assumed informally in response to the needs of the moment. Job descriptions, team memberships and chains of command usually determine the interfaces within the organization; they specify who may communicate with whom. Here again informal channels of communication develop over time; the insider knows whom to contact to get something done.

The structure of the enterprise does not create leadership. You cannot structure leadership into an organization. On the contrary the leadership of the enterprise designs and develops an appropriate structure for the type of business, its mission, its goals, its environment and its stage of development. Leadership in the integrated enterprise utilizes the diverse elements of the organization to form a structure that actualizes the potential of all individuals in the company. All individuals make a contribution to the success of the enterprise. Each individual must have a strong sense of what his/her contribution is. Every em­ployee has a particular job to do. Each has a boundary that defines his/her job. Leadership defines these boundaries so that each employee knows where he/she fits into the whole picture and how important his/her contribution is to the success of the enterprise. This instills pride in the em­ployee and in his/her work.

Leadership also provides the appropriate channels of com­munication to allow and encourage sharing and sup­port between individuals and groups within the organiza­tion. Interfaces must be accessible, dynamic and timely. Not only is information a necessary element for the func­tioning of the business, but recognition and feedback by personal contact is vital to the health of any organization.
On the shop floor in a manufacturing environment, struc­ture refers to how the plant is laid out to facilitate the flow of material through the manufacturing process. Organiza­tional structure refers to how boundaries are defined and interfaces engineered in order to facilitate the flow of information through the management process. Both types of structures must be addressed by the leadership in the integrated enterprise.

Function

Organization function refers to the group of activities which are performed to achieve a unified goal. Leadership is one of the functions of the integrated enterprise. And the leadership in the integrated enterprise must define not only the functions of the enterprise but also their interre­lationships.

In the manufacturing industry, fabrication, assembly, ship­ping, receiving, purchasing, maintenance, etc. are func­tions to be performed to deliver product to customers. And there are other functions which must also be managed; for example, the support functions: quality assurance, human resource development, information systems, finance and accounting. In addition, one that is often overlooked is management. And don't forget leadership. Planning, solving problems and reengineering are also functions in the integrated enterprise. These are easily overlooked because in reality they are part of every job. It is a function of leadership to see to it that everyone in the integrated enterprise is capable and fully utilizes these activities as part of their normal everyday function.

Culture

Webster defines culture as the integrated pattern of hu­man behavior that includes thought, speech, action, and artifacts and depends upon man's capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations. Lead­ership must foster the culture of the organization; leaders observe, confront and utilize patterns of human behavior.To deny the existence of an organization culture or to ignore the elements of human behavior that constitute that culture is to turn your back on the most influential force controlling the day to day operating activities of the enterprise.

To be Continued


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