Friday, January 8, 2010

Find a systems thinker for your organization

In most industries, leaders put up barriers when they see someone from outside their industry looking in. Whether hiring workers, consultants, trainers, managers or engineers, they put the blinders on and look for someone who has done that particular job before.

When thinking lean, we explore how we do the work. We break tasks out to discover what skills are required, what equipment is required, what tools are required, what material is required, what information is required. We look at how all of this fits together to create flow. Where we can’t flow, we introduce pull. We level out the work and install visual queues to see where the problems are. We engage people in fixing the system.

In doing all of this, it does not matter if he are building cars, treating patients, making ice cream, digging coal, making paper, designing spaceships, building skyscrapers or making vaccine.

Every task in any business can be broken down into a system. Lean thinking is applied to the system. We work on how we do the work and eliminate waste in the process. Lean is all about continuously improving the system to deliver customer value.

More companies should realize that while they are “unique” in what they do, they are simply using systems and processes to create value for the customer. Hiring someone who has a systems background and understands lean thinking can be a huge asset to any organization. Put these people to work!


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