Lean Transformation Journey: A Timken Perspective

Leadership is the key. The culture of an organization is what the leadership either creates or allows. An organization without a disciplined culture will not succeed on the lean journey. The leadership team culture will determine success even more than skills since the right culture will lead to gaining the skills. The following principles summarize what this culture and management systems entail.

Disciplined Culture:  A culture that develops standards, lives by standards, does not tolerate deviation from standards, and continuously drives improvement to standards across all levels of the organization.

The Essential Basic Principles:

  • Standards - Fundamental to Stability & improvement. Without a standard there can be no improvement.
  • Prime Directive Culture - Make today’s production today with no exception.
  • Proper Problem Awareness – Systems that drive immediate awareness to deviation from standard.
  • Extreme Intolerance for The Current Condition. Expect excellence. The current state is not acceptable; create a vision of excellence. 

Elements of Infrastructure:

  • Andon - Audible and visual alarm triggered by deviation from standard (line rate/schedule, setup, etc.). Operative associates trigger the system based on prescribed standards and thresholds.
  • Help Chain - Time-based problem escalation process for technical and leadership resource engagement. Rigorously and monitored defined response times for each level of problem escalation.
  • Zone control - Hour by hour production monitoring to visualize ahead or behind. A3 problem solving techniques driven by specific occurrences of operating issues/variances. Supported by Critical Point Gemba walks.
  • Command and control activities – This needs to be a place central to Gemba, that becomes the center for problem solving. Area that prominently displays status of hourly, daily, and weekly schedule performance and outlook. Log problem information, coordinate assignments, and ensure rigor of response. Drive analysis to support continuous improvement “zone of greatest need.” 
Marty Hallman