by Allan Ung
Image credit: Novo Precision
In today's competitive market, organizations are constantly looking for ways to improve their efficiency and productivity while reducing waste. Lean production has been widely adopted as a management philosophy to achieve these goals. However, implementing lean production alone may not be enough to sustain continuous improvement over the long term. This is where the Lean Daily Management System (LDMS) comes in.
An LDMS is a set of practices that enables organizations to monitor their performance on a daily basis, identify opportunities for improvement, and take corrective action as needed. Implementing both lean production and an LDMS in parallel can create a powerful combination that helps organizations achieve sustainable success. In this context, the importance of the LDMS lies in its ability to provide a framework for continuous improvement and problem-solving on a daily basis, which enables organizations to sustain the benefits of lean production over the long term.
Importance of the Lean Daily Management System
Here are some reasons why lean processes need an LDMS:
1. Focusing on the process produces results
An LDMS enables managers and front-line workers to focus on the process by providing a framework for continuous improvement and problem-solving. By focusing on the process rather than the end result, the LDMS encourages the identification and elimination of waste, which ultimately leads to better results.
2. Going to the gemba and learning the “bolts and nuts”
The LDMS requires managers to regularly visit the gemba, the place where work is done, in order to observe and learn about the actual work processes. This enables them to identify inefficiencies and waste, and make informed decisions about how to improve them.
3. Understanding from the executive perspective
The LDMS involves regular communication and review of the Lean deployment strategy at all levels of the organization, including executives. This ensures that everyone understands the strategy and how it aligns with the organization's goals, and provides an opportunity to make adjustments as needed.
4. Tending to the chain of command
The LDMS involves coaching and support for all levels of the organization, from executives to front-line workers. This includes resetting expectations, providing training, and offering floor-based coaching to ensure that everyone understands their role and how to contribute to the lean process.
5. Measuring the process against expected outcomes
An LDMS involves regular measurement and monitoring of the process against expected outcomes, which enables managers and front-line workers to identify potential problems early and take corrective action. This allows the organization to continuously improve and maintain the effectiveness of the lean process on a daily basis.
The Lean Daily Management System
The Lean Daily Management System (LDMS) is a process that helps organizations achieve operational excellence by improving the efficiency and effectiveness of their daily operations. This system provides a framework for identifying and resolving issues at the earliest possible stage, preventing them from escalating into bigger problems.
Lean Daily Management System (LDMS)
Source: Adapted from David Mann
The LDMS consists of four elements: Leader Standard Work, Visual Controls, Daily Accountability, and Leadership Discipline. For the LDMS to be effective, all the lean elements need to work together. However, it is important to improve the stability of a process first before implementing the lean management elements. Let's explore each of the four principal LDMS elements in detail:
Leader Standard Work
Leader Standard Work is a critical component of the LDMS. It sets the standards for expected behaviors for Lean leaders in a newly Lean environment. Leader Standard Work for LDMS includes regular audits of processes, attending and actively participating in daily accountability meetings, and actively engaging in continuous improvement projects. These tasks are critical for ensuring that Lean leaders are providing the necessary support and resources to their teams to drive operational excellence and improve performance. By setting the standards for expected behaviors, Lean leaders can help create a culture of continuous improvement and deliver sustainable results.
Visual controls are tools that help teams understand the status of work in real-time. These tools may include dashboards, scorecards, and activity boards that show key performance indicators (KPIs) and other relevant information.
Example: Visual Control Metrics
This component helps teams stay focused on their goals and allows them to quickly identify when things are not going according to plan. As a visual tool, the Activity Board lets us "see into" the business like a window. The posting of key information to support organizational objectives, continuous improvement, and the mini-company concept is critical to its success. The information is posted in an easy-to-understand format, usually visual or graphical, and represents a progressive management style. By checking the Activity Board's effectiveness regularly, we can ensure that the team has the information they need to do their jobs effectively and identify improvement opportunities.
Daily Accountability is a crucial component of the LDMS. It is a process of regularly reviewing progress against goals, identifying any issues or obstacles that have arisen, and taking action to close gaps.
Example: Daily Accountability Process - Tier Meetings
The process typically consists of a series of brief review sessions or tier meetings. In the tier meetings, the team reviews progress against goals and identifies any issues or obstacles that have arisen. They then take action to close gaps and improve performance. The use of visual controls and activity boards ensures that everyone is aware of their roles and responsibilities and that there is transparency and accountability for achieving the team's objectives.
The Leadership Discipline component of LDMS is critical to the success of the system. Disciplined leaders are essential to drive teams toward the next future state by constantly keeping the purpose in mind and using management systems to achieve their objectives. They are not afraid to take chances and desire the pressure to lead in a humble manner. They understand the importance of continuous learning and coaching teams to improve the current state. Leadership Discipline also involves harmonizing the Lean Management System with Lean Production for maximum effectiveness. This involves aligning the management system with the production process to ensure that both are working together to achieve the team's objectives. This includes ensuring that the right processes are in place to identify and solve problems, that the right metrics are being used to track progress, and that the team is constantly looking for ways to improve.
In conclusion, the Lean Daily Management System (LDMS) is a powerful tool that can help organizations drive continuous improvement and achieve their objectives. The four components of LDMS, including Leader Standard Work, Visual Controls, Daily Accountability, and Leadership Discipline, work together to create a system of planning, control, and continuous improvement. By embracing LDMS and incorporating its principles into their work, organizations can create a culture of continuous improvement, promote transparency and accountability, and achieve their goals.
Article by Allan Ung, Managing Consultant at Operational Excellence Consulting, a Singapore-based management consultancy firm that assists organizations in maximizing customer value and minimizing wastes through adoption of Design Thinking and Lean management practices. For more information, please visit www.oeconsulting.com.sg