The gap in true Lean Problem Solving – Fail fast and fail often!

Jason Burt

Lean Problem Solving

Problem solving using the Scientific Method is a key part of many organizations since Dr. Deming and Toyota applied this process in quality circles and manufacturing processes. The method, which in it’s most simplistic form is described as Plan, Do, Check, Act….or PDCA, is the basis of Lean today. The tools of lean, the management system, and the philosophies of Lean are all designed to create a PDCA cycle that creates sustainable business learning and results. This should be true at all levels of a truly lean organization. At a strategic level there should be a longer PDCA cycle with appropriate KPI’s, visuals, and reviews. This PDCA supports the longer vision of the organization and should be broken down to all of the functional levels at more frequent PDCA cycles through out the organization. Many companies are fairly effective of having the key components at the strategic level and the next level down of functional areas typically have the basic components for a PDCA at that level. Where gaps usually exist in designing a lean problem solving culture is at the shop floor level, where true value for the customer actually exists.