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“We cannot become what we want to be by remaining what we are.” – Max DePree

We attended a fantastic Workshop at RTC North last week about how “Lean” can help to improve businesses. Another great service provided to us as part of the North East Supply Chain. Jim Barr shared his vast range of knowledge on lean and embracing cultural change.

Toyota created the Toyota Production System, TPS, which is known more generically as “lean manufacturing”. Maximising production efficiency through the elimination of waste is how you bring about lean in your workforce.

The 5 lean principals to reduce waste are;

1. Specify Value

2. Map the Value Stream

3. Create Value Flow

4. Establish Pull Production not Push

5. Seek and Strive for Perfection

Kaizen, which means continuous improvement, is a strategy where employees at all levels of a company work together proactively to achieve regular, incremental improvements to the manufacturing process. In a sense, it combines the collective talents within a company to create a powerful engine for improvement. Willingness to change is Vital.

Some Lean Initiatives seem to have taken Kaizen budget cutting to an extreme with focus on fanatically improving process without regard to parameters affecting the human psychological well being within their equation.

For organisations to be competitive and improve, initiatives must come from within. Innovation does not just happen; it is up to management to ensure that the environment nurtures empowerment and innovation, this will encourage employees to make suggestions. Mechanisms to recognise excellence and to proactively enhance psychological well being are key and instrumental, these should provide your teams with the space to think and grow.

If employee psychological health and well being are to improve, a counterbalance between Lean Workplace Changes and Human Psychometric Measures needs to be implemented. The emphasis is currently too heavily focused on the efficiency side and needs to central focusing on them both equally. Mental health problems, such as; depression, anxiety and stress are now responsible for more than 50% of all lost sick days and 90 percent of any reduction in performance.

Change always brings increased stress and defense routines and lower motivation, however, if successful these psychological measures will settle and improve by the next quarter. Knowledge of this fundamental psychometric provides a timely advantage.

Be proactive about your company’s well being.

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