The Lean journey took eight years

That it took eight years of structured project work to develop a corporate culture where one was able to drive continuous improvement in a good way, was clearly a surprise to many of the participants.

– Be patient and avoid “Lean light”. The change process must take a long time, Falfoul said.

Passionate people and openness to both give and receive advice and tips across the organization proved to be of great importance for success – completely in line with the theory. Managers and middle managers quickly felt the pressure of having to lead the restructuring work and at the same time take care of their usual tasks.

In the case in question, help was quickly organized in the form of Lean ambassadors who could relieve the leaders in the practical Lean work. Eventually, all departments got an ambassador who could work at least 20 percent of the time on improvement and development work.

The workshop on 5 December was the first of its kind under the auspices of C2U. We invited to an active start to the day with certain requirements for self-effort and commitment. It was well received. The participants appreciated both the opportunity to exchange their own experiences and to get professional replenishment from our senior consultants, Paula Braun, Samir Falfoul and Jostein Moe.

When the tangle arises
Paula Braun shared experiences from one of her assignments where the starting point for improvement was not the best. The workplace was marked by conflicts. Sick leave was high, well-being low. The work that was done was far from the goals for both quality and volume.

– I chose to go in with the main emphasis on improving the organization’s customer focus and team spirit internally. After four months, we had reduced the lead time by 60 percent, the attitude among the employees had begun to change, sick leavers returned to work. Even after 2 years, when I visited the company again, the new rules of procedure were still valid, she said and summarized the main points in what she did:

  • See connections – why had the problem occurred?
  • Those who experience the problem most strongly are those who have been in the organization for a long time. I had to bring out their experience of the situation
  • I am careful that it is the organization itself that will come up with the solutions, not three solutions over the heads of the employees.
  • My role is to be questioning and map which signals come from customer requirements, from balancing, standardization, etc.
  • The organization must decide for itself which issues they want to investigate first. It’s about learning together
  • Use PDCA (Plan – Do – Study – Act) and work your way to the root cause of the problem
  • If one is to learn together, one must be willing to fail together. When you try to do something no one has done before, you have to accept acceptance for failure