The Track Ahead – Blog #1

Oh – if the only the road ahead were as straight as the one above.

If it were, ‘Accelerating one’s Journey’ would be so much easier.  But in the real world the path ahead resembles a ‘KATA problem-solving map’ as it is anything but straight.  Those who win, learn how to tap the right resources at the right time to ‘keep tracking’ toward their vision.  But keep in mind, you don’t need to travel alone – unless you want to.

This ‘amateur Hogg-Blogg’ is one more attempt to share practical Lean Thinking of value – especially in a world that’s about to change once again with CETA and the Trump world unfolding.  In speaking with Frost & Sullivan’s Research Director, Jeff Moad, he reminded me that success with Industry 4.0; The Internet of Things; Artificial Intelligence, and many more of those shiny objects (that marketers are enticing us to use in preparation for the future)  all will be dependant upon  the bedrock of Lean Thinking!

BUT before embarking into these new world’s, take a step back and, as before, ask – “Is our workplace organization World Class?  Is it continuously improving, and is Continuous Improvement in our DNA – honestly?  And are we as good as we can be?  Another key question for self-checking is: “does everyone in the company know what their role is in making the company successful?   And of course there could be many more questions such as: “During our regular Horizontal Value Stream Gemba walks, do we no longer find even a speck of the profit-sucking eight wastes?”  And most importantly, do we pause to chat with each and every value-adder to ensure they have all they need to make their customers proud of them?

The foundation of our future will remain … Lean Thinking!  So how world-class are you right now?  Have you achieved a stable, waste-free, single Horizontal Value Stream Flow (HVSF) whose tributaries begin with your suppliers and flow waste-free to your bread and butter customers?

Let’s Face It – we humans get bored by long routines – that is, if we are not really committed to Continuous Improvement.  We tend to always look for that next shiny object for the delicious excitement they bring.  And that should be a danger sign that we are at risk of missing tell-tale signs of weakening & decaying standards… the ones we worked so hard to put in place.

Jim Womack and Dan Jones, the authors of Lean Thinking, could not have imagined the scope and depth of change they brought about when they opened our eyes by exposing us to Lean Thinking in 1990.  Now, only 27 years later, every sector of human endeavor is seeking people with Lean talents.

Sure, we must still get our ’16 tons of coal out every day’ – as AME’s Doc Hall used to say – but we must not allow such intensity to block our sight of the vision ahead.  For more than two decades the Consortium Movement has accelerated innovative improvement solutions within an environment of trust, encouraging practitioners to share openly, and learn from each other.  It’s a learning-accelerant, and always has been – as demonstrated by the Consortium Movement’s impact on each company from coast to coast throughout the North American continent.

Having been a part of its evolution, I know there’s one value often overlooked.  It’s the societal value of practitioners coming together to identify and clarify the support they need most.  When this occurs, this highly accurate knowledge becomes a compass for learning providers who listen for what they can do to accelerate companies, communities, and the nation to global competitiveness.  One can see the connection between this and the coming CETA opportunities.  Included in the changing scene are indications that TWI (Training Within Industry) is coming back.

Collectively all these elements make a true win possible!  And it all starts by our coming together -in an environment of total respect & trust that’s vision-driven, focused, people-centred, with high-integrity and always focused on the right customers.