Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Eighth Opportunity

Before I start let me make it clear - I am a huge fan of Lean principles and philosophies as part of the complex path to organizational excellence. I applaud the engagement of the people doing the work in making the work better. I find that people can easily grasp the idea of the Wastes and come up with ideas for their environment. I love the guiding framework of the 5Ss and the clear leadership required to create context in the organization.

So what's the problem?

I've seen one too many Lean presentations on successful initiatives where they talk about the seven wastes and give a nod to the eighth (human skills, abilities and experience) saying they know it's there but didn't include it.

Why not?! In our rush to be efficient in the light of previously predicted people shortages (maybe not now - who can tell), we are overlooking the potential of people we already have. The old customer service adage used to say that it's cheaper to sell to an existing customer than to a new one. I haven't got the numbers for recruitment but I have a sneaking suspicion that it may apply to existing people resources as well.

Is there anyone out there working in this area in conjunction with lean philosophy and initiatives in their organization? I would love to talk to you.


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