Lean Leaders

Lean leaders [the broken link was removed] by April Terreri:

Tim Corcoran, vice president of ZF Sales & Services, NA, LLC, that re-manufactures automotive transmissions and steering systems in Vernon Hills, IL. “We had a number of false starts by implementing tools like kaizen, value stream mapping and the 5Ss,” he admits. “We found it’s really about the thinking and how we approach work.” Once he and his first-line managers participated in a lean workshop at Lean Learning Center, everything began to click. “We learned to identify problems, analyze them and develop processes to solve them the same way every time.”

The tools are very helpful but the change in mindset is critical. Without the change in the way business is viewed the tools may be able to help but often can prove of limited value. Once an organization starts truly adopting principles like surfacing problems so the system can be fixed instead of hiding problems so the individual doesn’t get blamed then the tools are critical to provide results that will encourage those who are skeptical to at least try this new way of looking at things.

Smith discovered some workers were hiding scrap. “They were afraid; but I told them the only thing I care about is how to prevent it from happening again,” he says. Scrap has since dropped dramatically–about 50 percent over the last few years.


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