Lean on me

Posted on 7 Nov 2012

Roberto Priolo, editor of Lean Management Journal brings us up to speed with recent and forthcoming features from his fast growing resource for lean practitioners.

The November issue of Lean Management Journal looked at how and why many lean programmes fail to deliver the expected results.

LMJ talked to brownfield services provider Wood Group PSN, for example, about the initial failure of its lean initiative and how the company was able to turn things around. Renault Nissan Consulting taught us that in fact geting things wrong is an important prerequisite to getting them right for good.

But in order to create a framework in which failure is taken as learning and fed into the continuous improvement cycle which lies at the heart of lean thinking, clear strategy is needed.

Investigating the practicalities of putting a robust lean strategy in place, from the very first days of implementation, the December-January issue of LMJ looks at every step in plotting, communicating and executing strategy.

In the first steps of strategic planning, the difinition of current and future states is a challenge often underestimated. So too is the ability to maintain sight of ‘True North’ as the implementation progresses while also having the flexibility to find different routes towards it.

The question of sustaining strategic intent in the face of a changing business climate, and as the low hanging fruit of quick wins diminishes, is one which vexes many lean journeys (p32). How do leaders at different levels sustain enthusiasm for imporvement or overcome oposition to imporvement as the lean programme reaches into new and often sceptical environments?

In the next issue, we’ll hear from Graeme Shaw of London Underground, who will share his experience of how his station upgrades division struggled to set off on its journey. He will also explain how he hopes to be able to adapt his lean strategy to other departments within LU.

A good strategy is always a desirable first step in the right direction. With one caveat of course: in an interesting article in the next edition, Denis Becker warns against the risks of putting too much emphasis on strategic plans before the necessary capability and culture to effect change are developed within the business.

The importance of laying cultural foundations for lean, operational excellence and continuous improvement can be a time consuming process and one which those who are enthusiastic about improvement can be prone to rush through as they seek to hit targets or make an impression on their business.

The edition will also feature an interview with yoghurt manufacturer Yeo Valley. Steve Welch, head of continuous improvement, will discuss how the company has worked to ensure its strategy is meaningful to its workers and that it reflects company commitment to ethical and sustainable growth. Steve will share just how difficult it can be to reconcile this ambition with the need to standardise strategy across multiple sites, each with its unique characteristics.

Finally, for the last issue of 2012, Lean Management Journal will travel to China to understand how lean is implemented in the world’s biggest economy. It’s now been almost a year since we have started analysing approaches to lean thinking in different nations: we have published specials on Italy, Germany, France, Scandinavia, the United States, Hungary, the Netherlands and Brazil. We’ll keep travelling the world in the new year, with specials on lean in India, Spain, Australia and Israel among others coming your way!

To learn more about Lean Management Journal and to subscribe, please contact Roberto Priolo (r.priolo@ sayonemedia.com) on +44 (0)207 401 6033 or visit www.leanmj.com