For me, the most challenging part of the lean journey is the culture change. Humans do not like change, once people feel comfortable with their current situation; change is evil. With Lean, we move people out of their comfort zones right from the beginning.
The lean thinking requires that we start to think and act different, a change of attitudes and culture is imperative. Like I indicated earlier, people do not like change; therefore the Lean Journey is never easy. Requires a lot of effort, time and repetitive behavior just to convince people Lean is a serious thing.
When we start talking about “Go and See” people are skeptical, but if we really go and see every day, they will start to believe. If every time a problem arise we go and see; and together with our employees, we start to ask why until we get the root cause, they will believe. The Kaizen culture is about continuous improvement, which will happen only if we learn and teach our employees problem-solving tools. We need to empower them to make decisions, create an escalating process so that they know when is time to ask help from a supervisor or manager.
Kaizen is about kept trying every day, is about refusing to accept the status quo and work to improve the current state. PDCA cycle is a living tool, we go, see, plan, do, check and act or adjust. It is an organized way to do trial and error, people like to jump to conclusions. We need to learn how to define the problems, find the root cause and organize the possible solutions and further action. This is an acquired habit, something we learn to do and the best way to learn is with practice. Lead by example, ask why, attack waste relentlessly, don’t miss any training opportunity. It is ok to make mistakes from time to time, the only failure is to stop trying. Kaizen every day, everybody, everywhere; that is the continuous improvement spirit!