Lean Manufacturing professionals work very hard to develop their ability to understand the shop floor and devise a plan to improve the conditions and problems that they see. They spend years learning tools and approaches to solve different business conditions and see themselves eventually being asked to pass that knowledge on to others. They develop a good understanding of how the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) Problem solving cycle works and can use it to guide themselves through different issues. Unfortunately, there is typically a focus on results and improvement instead of spreading the culture….the skill set to become an effective Lean Coach goes undeveloped. Solving problems and Coaching others to solve problems are two different skill sets that need to be developed.
I was very fortunate to be a part of this Lean Transformation from the very initial involvement of the Toyota Supplier Support Center (TSSC). This was the start of my Lean Journey with Toyota and eventually went to work for TSSC for a year and a half to learn more about the Toyota way and bring it back to Herman Miller. This was a great turning point in my career in Lean Manufacturing. This video does a great job of summarizing the long journey of Kaizen to create an entirely different capability and culture of problem solving and meeting customer needs.