Sustaining Improvement: Could It Be a Fantasy?

Tips for Sustaining Your Hard-Won Improvements

There’s two questions that appear to become most generally requested by organisations who’re searching to alter the direction of the business namely:

1. Where will i start?


2. Why do so difficult?

Research quoted by Henley Management College mentioned the United kingdom wastes around £25Bn each year on improvement programmes which are wrong and our very own research, collated from numerous sources, shows that up to 80% of improvement activities will fail.

With ‘Lean’ becoming the advance tool of preference within an array of sectors, including Financial Services, Military, NHS, Public Services and also the Service Sector, it’s already becoming apparent these sectors suffer from exactly the same issues with implementation which were first observed in ‘Lean’s’ home, manufacturing.

Although organisations have centered on the various tools of Lean, from adapting 5S and SMED for office and repair environments, there’s been little thought put on the methodology of implementation – namely, ‘Where will i start?’

Further analysis shows that lots of why Lean Improvement Programmes fail could be tracked to decisions and actions either taken or overlooked before the start of change process – broadly these decisions could be classed as:

* Issues all around the planning and use of the various tools

* Issues round the engagement of individuals and also the communication of change

* Issues around the introduction of managers they are driving the modification

* Issues round the leadership and management systems and behaviours to aid the modification

Therefore, possibly the key means to fix making Lean enhancements work is based on getting a precise methodology to allow people so that you can comprehend the Lean Journey (answering the ‘Where will i start?’ question) along with a strategy to produce the best organisational atmosphere to allow the enhancements to consider hold (answering the ‘Why could it be so difficult?’ question)?

Well, the solution to the questions above is ‘possibly’ since it all depends on getting the expertise to reply to the questions that arise – for example ‘What may be the right methodology in my business?’, ‘What is the greatest management structure in my business to aid the advance?’ and ‘How will i overcome organisational inertia?’

Sadly, many people who turn to implement Lean (or Six Sigma for instance) originate from an engineering or ‘tools’ background, meaning they completely understand the logic from the improvement tools but frequently don’t have the expertise to deal with the cultural change and organisational development aspect or impact of what they’re proposing. Alternatively, the facilitators originate from HR/People/Change Management backgrounds and supply expert facilitation for that teams but little when it comes to actual direction. Either approach is generally condemned to failure, either dramatic or gradual.

Therefore, the actual secret to success is to blend a powerful methodology with supporting activities made to align the organisation behind the modification and support it by having an approach with different strong knowledge of the various tools of improvement and the opportunity to inspire and coordinate individuals and teams.