Effective Supervision 101

The following article, by BMGI Consultant Stan Shaw, was recently published on Lean Enterprise Institute.

People-256 (1)I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have traveled and worked globally, deploying Lean in Scandinavia, Brazil, the US, Europe, Southern Africa, as well as the Middle East. I’ve been equally fortunate to have seen most industries within the automotive supply chain from mining minerals to primary raw metal processing to secondary component processing and final assembly at OEM’s of cars and “yellow metal” vehicles. (I’ve yet to see the flipside or re-cycling. I’m sure one day I’ll be afforded that privilege).

All of the above industries have, in principle, various levels of maturity at applying Lean. All have similar management structures, and yet the single biggest hurdle all “new practitioners” have seems to be how to overcome the transition of what they see into an understanding of what needs to be done in order to create value (or extract value from the identified opportunity for value). It’s all well and good knowing the five principles of Lean and the wastes etc., but processing the theoretical understanding into something they can actually do in terms of action is hard at first for anyone. Continue reading

Mythbusting the silver bullet


By Stan Shaw

The ‘Silver Bullet’ was the calling card of the Lone Ranger, a fictional character. Just as fictional is the myth is that a silver bullet is a single solution to a complicated problem which, if found, will bring a quantum improvement in business performance.

So-called silver bullets have often been linked to a technology-based solution or some magical new business tool or philosophy. Fact is, neither of these have brought large scale, pervasive and immediate improvements.

Actually, most business philosophies and tools have evolved from some earlier form of research and have morphed into the versions we have today. Take Six Sigma for example:

It all began with Edward Deming, widely considered as the father of modern management. He developed the management cycle tool called Plan Do Check and Act (PCDA) back in the 1950s. At around the same time Walter A Shewart developed theories around Statistical Process Control (SPC).

Continue reading