Lean business practices have played a leading role in helping organizations weather the economic downturn, according to a survey from Capgemini Consulting, but there is a danger that organizations will now fall back into pre-crisis mode as inability to sustain the success of lean initiatives becomes a pressing concern.
The results show that dissatisfaction with lean initiatives is highest one to two years after initial launch, when the original wave of optimism generated by short-term results is fading but long-term behavioral changes have not yet become embedded in the organization. Close to 70 percent of respondents were not satisfied with lean programs at the 1- to 2-year stage after implementation. This is also supported by the finding that resistance to change and organizational culture are seen as the main issues adversely affecting the sustainability of lean programs.
Capgemini recommends organizations focus on the following to bring about the needed behavioral change, and sustain lean methods of working over the long term:
• Leadership: in successful lean organizations, leaders at all levels in the organization lead lean initiatives by example.
• Recognition: promotion and retention of those associates who possess deep lean expertise is critical to lean success. This ensures the lean DNA of the organization is preserved and sends the right message about the importance of the lean program to the organization.
• Strategic Alignment: a successful lean program must be driven by a compelling "burning platform" that resonates throughout the entire organization. This burning platform is clearly linked to overall strategy and also clearly reflects the future intent of the organization. Burning platforms that focus solely on cost are best avoided, as these are difficult to mobilize the organization around in the long term and often taint the program as a "headcount only" exercise.
• Performance Management: organizations that have been successful in sustaining their lean initiatives include a lean management system as a fundamental component of their lean program.
A full copy of the report can be downloaded from:
Source: Capgemini Consulting
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