At a time when we must be efficient to remain competitive, it is important to set the correct strategy in place to drive that success. This success is both financial and quality compliance related, so it is important to accommodate drivers that address both concerns. Interestingly both are closely tied together so if you are careful with your planning and execution, you can reach your own form of operational near nirvana that can put you in a dominant position in your market. So, with this as the goal let us summarize an approach that can bring success.

There are some things you might want to consider before you embark on a program otherwise you might find it difficult to get the maximum benefit you are hoping for. It is important that you know whether your company is ready for a transformation, so preparing for this can be key. To help with this you need a leader to aid with managing mentoring activities, so consider hiring a coach to act as a sensei for your coaching and shadow coaching oversight.

Next, prepare your staff for the changes you plan to be part of your transition. Doing this will enlighten them and lubricate their process journey to success.

Early on, build a tight program management and performance analysis system so you can carefully track progress. Remember, what you are looking for is a seamless integration of the various factors you are tweaking to enable you to maximize your experience. As a critical component we would advocate an early and often involvement with shop floor participants in the program to gain grass roots adoption, which is necessary to maximize the opportunities. This is all part of the full engagement policy that promotes confidence in the best cultural change process. Provided these leadership principles are adopted and implemented sustainable change will be assured. So, in summary, what are the keys to achieve your goals:

  1. Perform an assessment phase of your Current State.
  2. Align your performance metrics with the company’s business strategy and the planned program improvements.
  3. Develop a change management plan that is congruent with your objectives.
  4. Develop a deployment phase to incorporate the previous three points.

Assessment phase

It is important to gain senior management commitment for a continuous tangible visible and unwavering level of support for the lifecycle of the program.

Success is often delivered by individuals and personalities delivering on a good plan, so it is important to know who the stakeholders are, whom the influencers are and what their individual and collective capabilities are.

From this it is important to identify the natural leaders because they will help to disseminate the methodology and champion the changes.

Learn about the value stream and associated metrics and align the plan so they are congruent, by gaining a thorough background about the site operation through on-site observation.


Following the observation process at the site, review the metrics and validate them for appropriateness. When necessary update these as appropriate because the quality of the metrics will underpin the whole process.

Change Management

This can be the biggest factor influencing the success of a transformation. Some important points to consider in designing your transformation include:

  1. Cultural issues
  2. Regional differences
  3. Age
  4. Gender
  5. Educational demographics

So, think about performing a stakeholder analysis to understand these various dynamics that are in play. Once you understand this, make it a priority to outline access for the workforce so they can buy in and embrace the process. To do this you need clear goals and objectives defined.

Define the desired Future State as clearly as possible and decide what tools you need to employ to make that happen. Next, arrange appropriate metrics to define the level of performance attained and record that/those using carefully designed scorecards. Define your success state through the definition of the desired future state and the measures you will employ to achieve your target. Once this is complete, harness the capabilities of the workforce through your understanding of the behaviors and attitudes to generate productive new work habits.

With this understanding complete, employ the necessary project management techniques to deliver value within the new time and monetary budgets.

In deploying the various tools throughout the transition process, remember it is vital to maintain appropriate communication channels between senior management, management, and the staff, to generate sustainable momentum and progress. At no time must the grassroots staff doubt senior management’s commitment to the program, or it will fail.


During the whole deployment phase, it will be key to target influential staff as trainers. Remember, the goal is not for management to push the process, rather to support the staff pulling the process to maintain momentum. After providing key technical training such as Value Stream Mapping, Poke Yoke and Standardized Work Practices, it is important to continue to shadow coach through a sensei to assure successful kaizen sessions. This will enable the success of the transformation. A total emersion process is the way to achieve success, focusing on the pain points through teamwork. Through this approach you achieve a high intensity resolution of inefficient and poorly compliant operating practices.

Through your team-leading sensei, which is often a consultant, you assure the quality of your actions through a constant monitoring and feedback process which is shared with the team and management. In doing so, if problems do arise, then help from senior management can be solicited and this will maintain momentum.

Finally, as results are recorded and reported, do not fail to celebrate your success and achievements. Only by doing so will you maintain momentum of your continuous improvement program and be mentally fit to go again!

Remember, through celebration we underscore what we have done, and this creates the new culture that we desire to be better.