Lean champions in organizations are constantly asked to justify their continuous-improvement (CI) efforts in the terms that management understands best -- money. When trying to put together a justification for a major continuous-improvement program that will take many years and involve a substantial investment, it's often difficult to get an organization's executives to sign up for this investment based on faith that it's the right thing to do. The data shows the majority of North American companies that begin a CI initiative fail to achieve the anticipated results and end up dropping the project like a religion-of-the-week program. As a result, there is often a stiff headwind for approval based on these executives' past experience with these initiatives. So how do you convince the company's leadership that the investment should be made and there will be a substantial ROI on the project?
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