What is Effective Company Leadership?

What is Effective Company Leadership?

Company Leadership is borne from three key elements: a strong senior management vision, good middle management action plans and proven shop floor results. Each of these levels has key functions to perform in order to create effective Leadership.

The Senior Management Vision

When I start on a new lean project, it is a important to understand to what level the company’s leadership is at and where the Lean vision fits within the company’s strategic planning. This is done by exploring key issues with the senior management team including:

  • How is the senior management team transforming towards lean manufacturing?
  • Is senior management developing lean leaders and deploying a vision of a lean production system?
  • Are senior managers placing emphasis on developing trust and the right culture in the factory through honest, direct and frequent communications?
  • Is there a Lean manufacturing goal? If so, how is this being shown and measured?

Middle Management Action Plans

Having understood the degree of senior management vision and leadership to support the Lean implementation, we can move on to understand how the middle leaders progressing towards the company lean vision.  At this level we look to understand how action plans are developed and how the work teams are engaging with lean actions.

  • How are these Leaders sharing and communicate a common lean vision and commitment to Continuous Improvement
  • Does each middle leader have a strong understanding and commitment to a lean production system.
  • Has each leader developed Value Stream maps and a implementation plans.

Shop Floor Results

Collaboration is key when improving a workplace process.

Lastly, we look how effective the lean leadership is by looking for Lean Production System elements and going to the shop floor and look for progress towards achieving them or current action plans to achieve them. Some of the elements we are looking for include:

  1. Factory/office layout that supports single piece flow.
  2. Empowered work teams.
  3. Lean inventory plan based on increasing inventory turns, Just In Time, Point Of Use, Standard Work In Process and Consumption Based Ordering.
  4. Supplier integration with sub tier lean deployment, kanban integration, cycle time reduction and value stream synchronisation.
  5. Lean manufacturing practices via Standard Work, Set Up Reduction, Total Productive Maintenance, and Visual Controls
  6. Continuous process improvement using lean tools like Improvement Workshop, A3 plans, Value Stream Analysis, Kaizen and Six Sigma.
  7. Work place culture acceptance of the lean end state
  8. Stable and capable processes and variation reduction.
  9. Lean implementation plan based on value stream analysis
  10. Embodies principles of takt, flow, and pull.

In summary

Great companies will have a strong vision in place and are working daily at getting on with doing a small number of important things consistently – day in, day out, week after week, month after month, year after year, as part of the middle management action plans. And finally the results must be visible at the Shop floor level. That is what make for effective Lean leadership.

Robert Chittenden

Author: Robert Chittenden

Robert Chittenden is a Senior Lean Consultant at TXM Lean Solutions