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Component Manufacturing dverti$er

Don’t Forget! You Saw it in the

Adverti$er

February 2019 #11235 Page #38

Close the Gap on Lean Initiatives Ben Hershey, CEO 4Ward Consulting Group, LLC

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hen I’m asked why I chose a set of puzzle pieces for the 4Ward Consulting team logo, I’m glad to explain that fitting the pieces together has always been a part of my approach to business, my own and those I have assisted. We have teams, divisions, branches, departments, etc. throughout our organizations that all must come together in the right way to provide success for our customers and company. I was reminded of this outlook recently during a message my Pastor was giving on closing the gap in those areas of our lives where we have improvement opportunities. The same is true of our operations.

Like puzzle pieces, each of the areas of our businesses—teams, divisions, branches, departments, and more—need to be dusted off or honed to see where they fit into the operation. Each piece can be turned, repositioned, and then placed into the larger puzzle where they close the gap perfectly with the other areas of our companies. Sometimes though, we have to hunt for that missing piece to close a gap. I hope you can relate; I remember putting puzzles together with my Dad and brothers and having the occasional missing piece. Sometimes areas of our companies seem like that missing puzzle piece and it can be frustrating. Sometimes those gaps or missing pieces damage our company, but it’s how we glue those pieces back together that makes us stronger. Even when we take the puzzle apart, shuffle the pieces, and bring them back together, we will have improved them and closed the gap to complete the picture. When companies undertake lean initiatives, one key element that leads to failure or non-completion is a lack of follow-through on those gaps. Full implementation of project objectives, 5(6) S programs, Kaizen events, etc. depends on all of its puzzle pieces, not just the easiest or most obvious. A simple example occurs when supervisors start having a shift huddle/ scrum which runs effectively for several days, but as soon as you have your eyes off of the process the huddle gets sloppy, information is not shared or communicated, and objectives are lost. One term for this is mission/ initiative creep—a gradual shift in objectives during the course of a campaign, often resulting in an unplanned long-term commitment. So how can you fit the pieces together in the way that it will not fall apart again or have gaps? Think about putting a jigsaw puzzle together as you consider these tips on putting your lean initiatives back on track!

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