During my lean journey, one of the toughest things has always been changing behaviors and old styles. In one of my work experiences, this was especially difficult.
Manufacturing environments are always challenging, full of stress to get things done. While machine breakdowns, processing problems, and quality issues make it harder, relationships between co-workers is frustrating sometimes. For traditional supervisors and managers, the people is always the problem, lack of commitment, lack of training, or simple laziness are some of the reasons for mistakes that they will mention.
The heart of any lean manufacturing initiatives shall be the people. Without our people, factories will not make any profit regardless of how many robots and automatic processes we have. Training, empowerment, listen to operators ideas and concerns, take in consideration and implement those feasible ideas and facilitate resolution for their concerns are ways to show that we do care for our employees. Another way is focusing on the process, equipment or any out of compliance situation when problems arise instead of blaming on the people.
Next time problems we found things at gemba out of standard focus on the process, not the people. We need to assume the people want to learn, be accountable and help in the company success, not the contrary.