Companies leaders need to think about “Next Generation” of Lean Manufacturing and how to continuously improve continuous-improvement projects.

Lean Processes Need to Continuously Improve

Even when conducted by expert Lean practitioners, the percentage of successful business transformations isn’t very high, coming in at about 50 percnet. They clarify this point by explaining that in process—in other words, during the actual conduct of an ongoing project—many clients back away from their original multi-year financial and resource commitment. “Why?” the explanation is that the critical mass of Lean impact needed to justify the client investment rarely accumulates until toward the end of the entire project. For instance, while 5S might be the right thing to do early on in a Lean transformation, it will be difficult to tie completed 5S projects to improved bottom-line performance. So companies, in essence, “blink” when they don’t see quantifiable improvements to their financial exhibits in the early- to mid-stages of a transformation.

Early Lean activity impact on executive-level metrics needs to be easier to quantify. To facilitate this, the focus of Lean needs to expand beyond its current emphasis on waste elimination to one of total business performance, i.e., revenue.

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