Key insights from our latest JLE study tour participants
Through the Makoto lens, we recently had the opportunity to take another group of enthusiastic business leaders on a Lean Experience Study Tour in Japan. This immersive journey into the heart of Lean and Kaizen methodologies is always an eye-opening experience for participants.
Let’s delve into some of the key changes our latest group is eager to bring back to their respective workplaces, the challenges they foresee, and how they plan to tackle them.
Embracing a united vision and purpose
First on their list is to instigate a complete vision and purpose workshop with their management teams. Many see the existing culture as a potential obstacle to achieving this. The solution lies in uniting the directors or executives in agreement on the significance of vision and purpose as essential drivers for strategic alignment. It will be crucial for leadership to come together, understand the importance of unity, and promote a shared vision to their teams.
Championing 5S in manufacturing and inventory
Next, participants aim to implement the 5S methodology in their manufacturing and inventory processes. Change resistance in long-standing employees could pose a challenge. Overcoming this will require providing the team with a Kaizen roadmap and an understanding of ‘why’ these changes are essential. Additionally, they acknowledge the need for data accessibility and intelligence to understand the new normal. The key lies in implementing effective training to manage and display business intelligence information.
Standardising 3S rosters and audits
The group recognises the need to introduce 3S rosters, audits, and standard work to promote 3S culture (introducing Standardise and Sustain). The challenge lies in a lack of perceived value and enjoyment in these tasks. The resolution? Leadership must lead by example and involve front-line employees in the implementation of improvements, particularly around standard work and 3S controls.
Venturing into QR codes for standard work
As part of their digital transformation initiatives, participants are enthusiastic to experiment with implementing QR codes for viewing standard work, particularly standard work videos. This is a new venture for many, but they plan to address any uncertainty by explaining the reasons behind the implementation and piloting the technology in areas more open to change, proving the value of this initiative.
Prioritising Gemba walk procedures
The tour participants also aim to revise and reinforce the Gemba walk procedure. With initial resistance to added administrative tasks, they recognise the importance of aligning KPIs for safety and improvement ideas with Gemba walks, thereby eliminating waste. The key is to present these facets together, facilitating an understanding of their collective importance.
Reinventing employee onboarding
The group aims to enhance the onboarding process for new employees. They intend to focus on understanding an individual’s perception of their role and how they can contribute and foster improvement. The challenge lies in potential resistance from existing employees, as this has not been an approach previously. The way forward is to open the same discussion lines with the current team, fostering inclusivity.
Re-evaluating business strategy
Lastly, the group acknowledged that business strategy often leans heavily on results like profit and growth, and not on how to get there. However, they see the value in incorporating aspects like training and development, continuous improvement through the elimination of waste, workplace organisation, and standard procedures into their strategic approach. Although this holistic view may not be well-understood currently, they are committed to ensuring their boards and executive teams gain a deep understanding of continuous improvement and how to foster a culture that supports it.
As we reflect on these points, it is clear our latest JLE tour participants are returning to their businesses with fresh insights and a new strategic direction. Japan’s Lean methodologies have once again inspired, motivated, and enlightened business leaders to embark on their transformational journeys. At Makoto, we are proud to be part of their journey and excited to see how these changes will positively impact their organisations in the months to come.
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