Daily Archives: May 15, 2011

The Time For Lean Is Now

But that does not mean you should rush an implementation. While lean can save time and money while increasing efficiency, a poorly thought out lean strategy will do nothing but disrupt operations, which will only waste time, increase cost, and decrease efficiency. And when you rush the implementation of any transformational program, chances are that you will make one or more mistakes that will lead you down the wrong road.

So, not only should you take the time to plan it out and get it right, you should learn the lessons from those who have went, and messed up before. The Supply Chain Digest recently ran a short piece documenting some common mistakes when implementing lean principles that is worth a read.

Don’t Implement Lean with a Weak Strategy or Insufficient Resources
If the strategy is weak, the workforce will see that it is half-assed and quickly lose faith. If the resources aren’t there, the overworked workforce will quickly lose interest in the initiative and fail to support it. As the article points out training, target setting, and communication tools all need to be carefully planned for proper implementation of Lean.

Don’t Take Lean Concepts Beyond the Lean Maturity Level of the Organization
Just because the lean designer has advanced theoretical knowledge and years of practical experience, that doesn’t mean the rest of the organization does or that they’re ready to be an advanced organization. The key to success is to take it one step at a time, one change at a time, and work your way up to a more advanced level.

Don’t Try a Cookier Cutter Solution
True Lean optimizes your business, not someone else’s. It’s impossible to take a cookie cutter plan and apply it out of the box. It will need to be appropriately tailored to your business by an expert, who will map out stages that the organization will have to pass through to obtain true lean success. As the article points out, each Lean solution must match with the company size, industry, ethnic cultures, product price structure, location, environment and a number of other related variables.

Follow these nuggets of advice, and you can start your journey down the road to lean success.

You Know Your Procurement Rules Are Onerous When

Even your public sector organizations are saying the rules are inflexible, complex, and onerous! Seems that the NHS, who need to find 50% more savings and make up to twenty billion pounds of efficiency savings by 2015, are heeding my advice that they need to stop buying like a government agency and have made a submission to the European Commision’s consultation stating that EU public procurement law should be amended to allow for greater negotiation with bidders during the selection and award process.

According to this recent article over on SupplyManagement.com, the NHS Confederation has called for a significant increase of the threshold at which organisations are obliged to follow EU rules. The current level applies to many relatively small contracts, putting them through the same onerous tendering processes as ones worth many millions which, as I pointed out in my post on how the NHS can find 50% more savings, is moronic. When the bid is too low, you get organizations bidding that have mastered the art of the “change order”. They agree to do “X” where “X” sounds like it is what you want, but really isn’t, and then to get what you really want, because of the tight contract, you’ll have to pay a ridiculous amount in change order fees, and the result is that the net cost will be more than the highest bid, and significantly more than the lowest bid from a competent, honest, vendor.

Hopefully when the EU revises the regulations this summer, they’ll listen to the NHS request. Otherwise, there’s no way the NHS is going to find the savings it needs to continually reinvest in patient care, wait times are going to continue to go up, and quality of service is going to continue to go down.