Lean business practices have played a leading role in helping organizations weather the economic downturn, with the survey revealing that cost reduction and bottom-line improvements are the leading business challenges that lean is deployed to tackle. However, the survey also reveals that as we emerge from recession, there is a danger that organizations will now fall back into pre-crisis mode as inability to sustain the success of lean initiatives becomes a pressing concern.
The results show that dissatisfaction with lean initiatives is highest one to two years after initial launch, when the original wave of optimism generated by short-term results is fading but long-term behavioral changes have not yet become embedded in the organization. Close to 70 percent of respondents were not satisfied with lean programs at the 1 to 2 year stage after implementation. This is also supported by the finding that resistance to change and organizational culture are seen as the main issues adversely affecting the sustainability of lean programs.
As a global leader in the deployment of lean business practices, Capgemini Consulting recommends that organizations focus on the following to bring about the needed behavioral change, and sustain lean methods of working over the long-term:
- Leadership: in successful lean organizations, leaders at all levels in the organization lead lean initiatives by example.
- Recognition: promotion and retention of those associates who possess deep lean expertise is critical to lean success. This ensures the lean DNA of the organization is preserved and sends the right message about the importance of the lean program to the organization.
- Strategic Alignment: a successful lean program must be driven by a compelling “burning platform” that resonates throughout the entire organization. This burning platform is clearly linked to overall strategy and also clearly reflects the future intent of the organization. Burning platforms that focus solely on cost are best avoided, as these are difficult to mobilize the organization around in the long term and often taint the program as a “headcount only” exercise
- Performance Management: organizations that have been successful in sustaining their lean initiatives include a lean management system as a fundamental component of their lean program.
“Traditional lean programs with their strong emphasis on lean tools and techniques and much less focus on implementing sustainable behavioral change need to be rethought. The solution requires a new approach to lean,” said Jeff Patton, Vice President, Supply Chain Management Practice, Capgemini Consulting.
“Our BeLean® methodology includes a heavy emphasis on behavioral change as part of the lean deployment approach to help organizations deliver tangible results.”
About Capgemini Consulting’s BeLean® approach
Capgemini’s approach to Lean is called BeLean® . A BeLean® engagement normally consists of two phases, diagnosis and deployment. Overall it delivers:
- Sustainable results – Capgemini helps organisations to achieve lasting results that can be financial, operational, or cultural – often all of these. BeLean® is always about results.
- Behavioural change – Capgemini achieves sustainability by bringing about behavioural change which ensures lean is fully supported by the organisation’s workforce.
- A comprehensive approach – Capgemini works with clients across their processes, organisation and people to make sure all critical areas are addressed. Lean is not just about process and tools.
- A progressive roadmap – major transformations require a clear roadmap.
- A progressive, multi-level approach works best, building from solid foundations to guarantee future excellence.
- A best-in-class methodology – Capgemini has a detailed and proven approach that can be shaped for any situation and deployed with confidence.
About the 2010 Lean Survey
Input for the survey was gathered via a series of questions during the first quarter of 2010 from over 150 senior executives – who have responsibility for leading lean initiatives in their respective organizations – from companies across Europe, North America, Scandinavia and Asia-Pacific. The survey set out to acquire a deeper understanding about the primary objectives of a diverse group of lean programs, gain insight into the key challenges organizations face in implementing lean, and better identify how overall satisfaction levels with lean programs may change over time.