Lean tools and techniques can deliver lower costs, higher quality, and major improvements in customer service. But many companies struggle to achieve these benefits, even after years of trying.
Why is success so elusive? In many cases, lean approaches aren’t customized and applied consistently across plant networks or even a single location. Some efforts lose steam because they fail to engage and train enough employees to create sustainable results.
When companies do succeed at applying lean approaches to manufacturing, they often stop after achieving short-term success, instead of expanding their efforts more broadly to other areas of the business. There is often a lack of leadership, a failure to measure progress, insufficient communication, and a lack of synergy with overall business objectives.
These problems can be attributed to differing degrees of lean maturity.
Regardless of which stage of maturity a company is in, lean practitioners can continue to improve performance as they increase their expertise. Success in this journey often comes down to effective governance.