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New Year’s Resolutions for Your Lean Goals

This year, let’s NOT make any New Year’s resolutions when it comes to running our businesses and being successful. Rather than go through the usual rant about mission statements and visions and that stuff, let’s ask ourselves – REALLY ask ourselves – did that work last year?

Instead let’s commit to two simple principles, ones that we can undertake every day:

The first is to make lots of small improvements and the second is to involve everyone.

Many small improvements are easy to achieve when you are actively looking for them. They may start by helping your team remove the rough edges from the work benches or cleaning and oiling the vice. Start small and with simple things – the “we have to get around to that” small fixes. And get your team involved. Find ways to stand shoulder to shoulder while attacking these small improvements. These small actions can build pride and a sense of achievement into your team. And as you continue to encourage them to go on fixing little things and noticing what’s going on, then the improvements start getting a bit bigger and soon many, many small improvements make a big change in an area. Many small improvements are also easier to sustain.

engage your team in Lean

There will be many ways to encourage our team to find new improvement ideas – consider the “7 Wastes”; are any of these present? Which can we tackle first? Are there any areas that are always messy or congested? Review the 5S principles; where have they fallen over? Did we consider how the product mix may have changed in the area – where do improvements need to be made to allow for a change in work

While working with your team on these small improvements, have a good look at the area and consider what worked well last year. A study of previous behaviours is often the best indictor of future behaviours. Which elements of all of the things your tried last year work? Were they the Quality ones? The Lean principles? Or something else? What about them made them work here, with this team? Often it’s the simple, visual tools that involved the team in setting it up, and maintaining them, being the ones that worked and helped the team. Pulling together the elements that worked with your team, and then identifying the elements that are needed, becomes the next step in finding new small improvements to make!