Implementation of lean manufacturing processes seems to have done wonders for several businesses. This being the case, it does not come as a surprise that today almost every organization wants to implement these processes. The question though arises, as to how does one go about the process? The answer lies in hiring the services of a professional lean consulting firm.
Online sources are perhaps the best manner to start searching for these consulting firms. You can also join a few online forums from where you can get information about good lean consulting firms. In certain cases friends or family members can be of help offering you insights into the competency of lean consultancy firms. The more the number of people you talk to the more are your chances of choosing the right consultancy firm. It is always better that you do thorough research before you choose a consultancy company.
Make sure that you ask all the right questions before you choose a consultancy. A good consultant will not hesitate from answering your questions. In fact, you can find a lot of clues about the competency of a particular consultancy firm through their answers to your queries.
Remember there is no use in hiring the services of a consultancy which will only do a superficial assessment. A good consulting firm will do a thorough analysis of your businesses and processes. They will literally go into every minute detail about your manufacturing process, before they offer you suggestions. Remember a good consultancy firm will always aim to get good word of mouth through professional service.
You must be beware of consultants who will do an analysis, hand over a few suggestions, take their fee and then disappear. A good consultant will not only do a thorough analysis and give suggestions they should also be able to help your organization make those necessary changes. They ought to work with your employees and guide them through the various procedures that are to be implemented.
Getting feedback from your own team is also important. Talk to all those who are in the shop floor about their assessment of a particular lean consulting firm. This will enable you to gauge the comfort levels of the associates about a particular consulting firm. Every level of your organization should be able to participate in the process.
Remember a good consultancy firm will help mentor your team in the right way. The lean consultancy firm that you have chosen should be able to provide sufficient training to the team members so that they are able to implement all the procedures flawlessly.
It is also better that you remain patient and don’t expect overnight results. Remember the right consultancy firm can ensure that they have suggested the right procedures and trained your team members. The next stage of implementing whatever they have suggested remains vested with your organization. While a lean consultancy may mentor you for a few days or weeks, but after that the entire initiative rests with the top management of the company.
It is a very good idea to implement Hoshin planning because this helps your organization to plan long term goals and to implement them effectively. This style of planning has been used very effectively by manufacturing companies in Japan, Europe and the United States but it can also be used by companies across different industries. Even though this is a very effective planning system, it is not without issues.
Problems with Hoshin planning are generally caused because of incorrect implementation. This is usually caused because organizations do not have the right guidance when adopting this planning style. The most common problems associated with it are:
- This planning style is a very interactive one and while this works well in most situations, it cannot be used effectively when trying to fix numeric goals.
- Very often, many employees at lower levels do not know enough about Hoshin planning. As a result, they are not motivated to give it their maximum efforts. They also tend to resist adopting a new way of working because they do not understand its significance for the well being of the company.
- Companies have to employ a lot of resources in order to use Hoshin properly.
- The success of this planning system depends very much on the senior management of a firm since this method takes a top down approach. In the event of changes in the top management then the new managers might not adopt the methods used by the old ones.
- Managers and employees can get obsessed with certain steps of the planning process and they can neglect other important steps. Also, if there are big egos involved then people might put a lot of effort and resources into certain activities been if they do not give the right results. This generally happens if a person has a pet project.
- A very commonly occurring problem concerns the inability or unwillingness to change when external or internal factors bring about alterations in the business environment.
- Many companies keep changing their goals repeatedly and this leads to confusion with employees who do not know exactly what to do.
An organization needs to study exactly which problems it is facing with regards to the implementation of Hoshin planning. Once the problems are identified, the company needs to address them without any delays. This will ensure that the company achieves its short term and long term goals without any issues.
Bottom Line: Read about the different issues that companies have to deal with when employing Hoshin planning. These issues get in the way of the company’s success.
Hoshin Kanri is very popular planning process that was developed in Japan taking inspiration from the American management technique of Management by Objectives. This process has been used all over the world because it contributes tremendously to the success of an organization. As a matter of fact, many organizations have begun to invest in training programs and software so that they can use Hosjin Kanri properly.
An organization that has never used Hoshin Kanri before generally needs to overhaul its style of functioning in order to get the best results both for the short term and the long term.
- Each and every operational unit in the company should be run according to the mission of the organization. This ensures that all activities are targeted towards the same goal with each department having responsibility of completing certain segments of the overall target.
- It is necessary to document activities because this enables the company to monitor performance properly. If there is any lag in target achievement then corrective measures can be taken without any delay.
- Measures should be put in place to ensure that any one activity does not get emphasis over others. This is a common problem faced when trying to implement Hoshin Kanri.
- It is very necessary to patient when using Hoshin planning. It takes an organization a minimum of 5 years (and sometimes as many as 20) to translate its organizational vision into a long range plan. Therefore, this process should also be done with a great deal of care since changes are rarely made from one year to the next.
- Companies that make use of this planning technique have to ensure that there is a very high level of communication within the organization. The purpose of this is to ensure that all employees know exactly what is expected of them so that they can work accordingly. This also helps motivate employees to perform properly at work, especially since they have to work in a changed work environment.
It is necessary to adopt Hoshin Kanri planning in the correct manner or else your company will not be able to achieve anything from it. You’ll need to pay for training sessions or even the services of a management consultant who can oversee your company’s efforts to plan for the future in the best possible manner. The effort you put into this will ensure that your company is well equipped to deal with the future.
Bottom Line: Read about the right approach to be adopted when implementing Hoshin Kanri planning. This planning method is effective at helping companies achieve long term and short term targets.