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The Lean Manager: Solving your own Problems

The book “The Lean Manager”, by  Michael Balle and Freddy Balle is a novel come textbook on understanding Lean and implementing it into our everyday working situations. It contains come great quotes and over the next few posts we will choose a few and discuss their implications in your manufacturing environment.

“You need to learn to solve your own problems, and not expect the computer system will do it for you. It won’t,” the CEO tells the department heads when they complain about him stopping the MRP system upgrade in a bid to reduce costs to save the company.

How often have you lamented the lack of the best software management system or the need for an upgrade? As Tim has written previously (add link) MRP systems are fine for high level resource and material planning but the systems we need at the Production level are different.

And the best computer systems in the world won’t fix your quality or equipment capacity or supply problems. All of these little, reoccurring problems that have you running around all day need to be looked at in a different light. We need to use every person in our organization to help us out with identifying, and then solving, these problems.

Our job as managers is to help our teams understand what is expected regarding quality and production targets. When we understand what is required, it then makes it easier to see when we are not meeting these requirements; it highlights the “problems”.

In a Lean sense, problems aren’t bad things we need to hide away. They are the opportunity to identify the gap between the required condition (our production requirements) and the present one. Once we understand that there is a gap, we can then work out what is needed to reduce the gap. This is where our problem solving skills, allowing us to determine the most probable root cause, comes into play.

If you need help rolling out Daily Problem Solving across your Production teams, give the TXM team a ring.