I spent a “Learning Friday” morning with some colleagues from the Michigan Lean Consortium at a session about lean assessments led by Debra Setman of Johnson & Johnson. Debra’s been involved lean assessments for 20 years at hospitals, manufacturing companies, IT organizations and J&J, and had a brisk, interactive, and fact-based introduction to them.
Debra says she doesn’t even like to call these 2 ½ day visits “audits” or “assessments.” They are coaching opportunities for the visiting team and learning experiences for the site being visited. The key is to have valid and consistent criteria that can be used to characterize a level of lean … what should we call it? Implementation? thinking? … for the purpose of sharing recommendations and recognizing strengths.
J&J uses a maturity model, starting with Stability, Flow, Pull, and Integration stages (as defined by J&J) of a number of categories of lean practice and thinking. For “Site Leadership Attitude,” for example, the evidence of a site’s stage of maturity is:
Stability: Excited and proactive about lean in the lean pilot area (LPA)
Flow: Excited and proactive about lean throughout the site value stream
Pull: Excited and proactive about lean throughout the value stream and at the key external partners
Integration: Excited and proactively involved with lean throughout the extended value stream. Servant-leader mentality exists throughout.
Debra emphasized that your organization could have different categories and definitions, depending on your company’s goals and understanding of lean. In fact, as requested beforehand, several people brought their own examples of assessments. Mike Taubitz from Lean Journey LLC had a simple Yes/No inventory checklist. Murray Sittsamer of The Luminous Group shared a fairly quick and easy scoresheet on a “worst practice” to “best practice” scale for a number of lean hallmarks.
It’s easy to get the criteria underlying several recognized awards-related assessments:
The Shingo Prize
The Manufacturing Awards of the Association for Manufacturing Excellence
The Baldrige Award is more oriented to classic quality objectives than lean, but many companies like using it for evaluation. It has versions for education and healthcare.
For assessing your personal lean maturity level, you can review the AME/SME/Shingo Prize Lean Certification criteria that have been adopted by NIST and by many companies. There are a lot of related documents on the SME website: www.sme.org/leancert. (Go to the two lower boxes in the right-hand column for the links.)
What’s the value for the company of going through an assessment? Michael Bremer asked that question on the AME LinkedIn group -- you can add your thoughts to if you go to “AME just sent out a call for applications for its Manufacturing Excellence Award -- What do you think are some of the benefits a company gets when it applies for the award?”
Not giving you the usual lengthy article about the presentation today -- if you want more information contact me at Karen.m.wilhelm …. At …. Gmail.com or dsetman … at …. its.jnj.com.