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Bill Gaw's Top 12
Lean Manufacturing

Refraining the 'Do More with Less' Mentality

The primary, almost reflexive, response to a decrease in demand for your business is the elimination of resources, downsizing. Unfortunately, in most cases this process is carried out with very little forethought and planning. Those that go are thrown to the wolves, but so are those that remain. Little or no preparation takes place for the conditions under which the show must go on. Product and services must continue without disruption. The survivors must do more with less. This situation is particularly hard on supervisors and managers. Under these conditions it is ever so more important to deliberately plan and document a systematic approach incorporating leadership and infor­mation. This situation is actually a tremendous opportu­nity to break out of the old way of doing things and be creative and innovative in redesigning your jobs.

All members of the organization must fundamentally alter the day to day operation of the business. Its the only way to survive in the long run. It also trains us to be proactive in change by anticipating demand fluctuations. Doing more with less must be approached with creativity not impoverishment. It can be an exciting time rather than demoralizing; it all depends on the vision of the leadership and their ability to communicate that vision.

The "Do More With Less Mentality" must be reframed both for the workforce and management. Workers must see DMWL as an opportunity to be creative. Management must use DMWL to empower the workforce by offering more opportunity and expecting more responsibility. DMWL must be used to drive efficiency through creativity; we must find answers to questions that have not yet been asked. We must question those answers which do not produce desired outcomes. We must do things differently. Yes! that's right. Change. "Solutions today for the problems of tomorrow" is a shibboleth of proactivity.
In the Integrated Enterprise, the leadership must cham­pion change; change that will promote growth and create jobs. For although the goal of manufacturing is productiv­ity, the goal of capitalism is full employment.

The Emergent Paradigm

Most importantly, the leader must assume new roles in the management of the Integrated Enterprise. The primary focus of the leader in the Integrated Enterprise has now become "Process" or "Relationship" oriented. The skills of observation, listening, system thinking, data collection, problem solving, planning and communicating must be used to facilitate the transformation of the organization. The leader must relate to and work with all internal as well as external functions.

To be Continued


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