Lean Management: Back-to-Basics
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In today's competitive manufacturing environment, it takes more than quick fixes, out-sourcing and downsizing for companies to consistently exceed their growth and profit objectives. While these options may yield temporary financial relief, they will not lead the way to long-term manufacturing success. For individuals and companies to consistently exceed performance expectations, they need to ..............
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Business Basics, LLC
Lean Management: Back to Basics
In today's competitive manufacturing environment, it takes more than quick fixes, outsourcing and downsizing for companies to consistently achieve their growth and profit objectives. While these options may yield temporary financial relief, they will not lead the way to long-term manufacturing success. For individuals and companies to consistently exceed performance expectations, they need to fully understand and effectively execute the BASICS of their business and their professions..
While many of these basics have been documented and presented in hundreds of management articles, books, video presentations and seminars, their intra-relationship and synergistic importance to achieving solid growth and healthy profits has not been effectively defined and communicated.
Computer Software/Hardware Sophistication
Over the past 30 years, we were led to believe that computerized systems would provide the solution to all our growth and profit problems. In manufacturing and distribution, systems like ERP were to provide the computer sophistication to significantly improve our delivery chain performance. In engineering, Computer Aided Design (CAD) systems were to be the high-tech innovation for improving engineering design and speeding the time-to-market process. In sales/service, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) was to provide the missing link in effective customer service while e-commerce software was to improve order sales capture rates and order processing speed and accuracy.
In their efforts to draw closer to customers, many business management teams have lost focus on what should be a company's primary success target-- profitable growth. They have pursued Total Quality Management (TQM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Business Process Reengineering (BPR), ISO-9000, and Six Sigma with each respective guru reassuring them that if they followed their program ... the bottom-line would take care of itself.
Well, it hasn't happened! Like most perceived panaceas, each of these programs received a lot of hype but produced few success stories. While these programs contributed to better quality and improved customer service, they accomplished little towards helping individuals and their company reach their full growth and earning potentials.
"Where's the Beef"
For a measure of their shortcomings, one needs only to spend some time in a manufacturing facility -- especially during the last weeks of the final financial quarter. In a typical company, you'll find that converting the quarterly financial forecast into reality still requires costly overtime, internal/external expediting, last minute "on-the-run" product changes and even a little "smoke and mirrors." Results are scrap, rework and warrantee costs that negatively impact profitability and production problems that hinder growth. Companies have spent many thousands of dollars in pursuing MRP/ERP and ISO-9000 certification, only to see their business decline due to uncontrolled operating costs that produced noncompetitive pricing. Other companies have won the Malcolm Baldrige Award for Quality and Business Excellence and subsequently fell far short of achieving growth and earnings expectations.
So, after introducing all these computer systems and more, why is it that most individuals and their company are still struggling to reach their full growth and earning potentials? The first reason is simple --the results achieved by any computer system are only as good as the people at the controls and the integrity of the data they provide. The second is complex -- most business managers facing major day-to-day problems and constraints are forced into a totally reactive management style. Consequently, their time is consumed with "band-aiding" and/or finding ways to work around system and process problems -- leaving them little or no time to analyze and eliminate the root causes of ineffective systems and processes.
The "Cart Before the Horse"
How does one turn around such a classic, "cart before the horse" syndrome? What's required is a top down, in-depth understanding of the importance of the BASICS of profitable growth and a total commitment to their consistent and tenacious implementa-tion.
Like Vince Lombardi, who achieved success by having his team focus on the mastery of football BASICS -- we need to have our manufacturing teams focus on the mastery of manufacturing BASICS.
Proactive planning and tenacious execution of BASICS require leadership above and beyond just satisfying "day-to-day" accountabilities. Some managers can't envision the benefits of mastering relevant BASICS, other simply can't find the time. Like practicing blocking and tackling in football, it's not glamorous, and like most football heroes, managers prefer to run with the ball. But without the tenacious and flawless execution of manufacturing BASICS, companies will never exceed expectations.
It is time for companies to put a hold on sophisticated systems development that cause self-inflicted, day-to-day chaos. In its place, they should immediately initiate an action learning program for gaining a company wide understanding and acceptance of the importance of manufacturing BASICS. Once buy-in and commitment have been achieved, aggressive planning and tenacious implementation must follow. In short, let's put the "horse before the cart" -- such a program will build a solid foundation for redefining and revitalizing an individual's and their company's pursuit of growth and earnings.
Increase Your Knowledge... Stay Connected
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personal information will never be disclosed to any third party.
To stay current on Lean Manufacturing principles and techniques, subscribe to our Manufacturing Basics and Best Practices Bulletin (MBBP) and we'll send you our PowerPoint-Plus Presentation, "The 7-Rules for Surviving in an Entirely New Economy" All at no cost of course.
Your personal information will never be disclosed to any third party.