If it’s not simple, it is not Lean !

If it’s not simple, it is not Lean !

Keep it Simple

When a company decided to implement a Kaizen system, very often the management team expects immediate dramatic improvement with direct impact to bottom line of their P&L. In every meeting they asked their team about progress and become nervous when they still cannot see the positive impact on their results.

However, the same top managers who push every meeting for results considers they are very busy with other “business priorities” and happily delegate the day-by day implementation to the next level of managers even without keeping the responsibility for the progress of Lean implementation

As a direct result of this behaviour all delegated managers work hard to develop nice and colourful documents posting them everywhere without structure and clear destination. The only reason being to please top managers.

In consequence very few people read them and almost no one understands them.
After a period of time (months!!)Suddenly the moment of truth comes and the person who has “the driving seat” realizes that Lean program delivers almost nothing but complications, the team lost the enthusiasm and the moral is down.

Over the time, in such situation I have got the same questions many times: when we know Lean system is well implemented in a particular company?

Every time, I give the same answer: you need to build the system in order to deliver results!

Problema este că rezultatele nu vin imediat si intre timp trebuie să iti faci o imagine destul de buna dacă planul de implementare este bun si ții inca speranta ca acest sistem va livra imbunatațirea indicatorilor de performantă.

The problem is the results are not coming soon and in mean time you, as a leader, have to get a pretty good picture if the implementation plan works keeping the enthusiast alive across the organization. Also, your moral is important in this journey that’s why it is important to maintain your confidence that Lean program will deliver the expected results, finally.

Always being in such as dilemma, I use to advise what I have done it in the past pretty successful. I would recommend you to walk into different areas of your business: production, warehouses, offices and focus yourself to understand processes, daily issues of the team, the trend of kay performance indicators and your customers’ feedback.


During such as 2 -3 hours tour of your company you should get a pretty good picture about the status without asking to many questions. Visual boards or electronic screens should show you plenty of information about departments’ performance.

If not, something is wrong! Or visual management is complicated or the discipline process is not followed and the area team is not participating to update information, making decisions without real facts.

In summary, if during your walk you do not understand the performance and issues this means the system does not work.

This is the first and the most powerful check point of the status of Lean implementation!

If there are not simple and easy to be updated, read and understood, this means the processes in the company are not Lean.
And if there are not Lean it is the moment when you have to come back to step zero and start it again. Also, it is very important to start changing fundamentally your approach and especially your involvement in the process.

You have to understand the Lean implementation cannot be delegated and you, as top leader of the organization, must be the main engine of the implementation.

You have to be interested, involved and enthusiast in order to influence your team.
Also, all of you must be involved in developing clear, focus and simple processes in your company. These processes will be easy understood, analysed and improved without spending hours in meeting rooms having endless discussions about the company issues and hypothetical solutions.

As I use to say: if a process is not simple this means the process is not Lean!

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