“Seeing” Continuous Improvement

The Weekly Report – June 3, 2024
Business growth consultant Ryan Steinert says continuous improvement initiatives are most successful when employees learn to see the entire operation.

In the 20-plus years Ryan Steinert has been specializing in CI in manufacturing, the complexity and automation of operations have grown exponentially. Making those processes visible to employees is critical to the success of continuous improvement efforts, he says.

At our June 12 manufacturing workshop in Sartell, Ryan will show manufacturers how they can help employees “see” the process to meet customer expectations, “see” the workplace to expose potential problems and “see” the work to engage the workforce to improve it.

“Seeing” is fundamental to continuous improvement, Ryan says. He compares the evolution in manufacturing to changes in the world of money. It was easier to learn about money when he was a kid because all the transactions were transparent. “I watched my parents cash checks or make deposits at the bank. I saw them pay in cash at a store, or put cash in the offertory plate at church,” he says. As he and his wife try to teach their kids, those actions are no longer visible, and they have to be more intentional about how they explain money.

Likewise with manufacturing. “As we introduce automation and advances into manufacturing, things become less visible,” Ryan says. “You have to be strategic about making processes as transparent as possible even though they are automatic. You create this learning organization so that people can see what’s actually happening with their processes.”

Employees also need to know that they can still make changes and improvements. “The last thing we want is for people to turn off their brains when they come to work and just be button pushers,” Ryan says. “We want to build a learning organization where they’re thinking, ‘I can change this. I can make a difference.’”

Today’s manufacturers have to be more nimble than ever to meet evolving customer demands. “We have to change what we do and how we do the work,” Ryan says. “If it’s invisible and we don’t know what the work is, it’s hard to see how to make those changes.”

Ryan will show workshop participants how to make processes more visible to employees and how to empower them to make continuous improvements to operations. “Then they can take steps to engage employees to see and make improvements in operations.”

I hope you can join us for Ryan’s workshop on Wednesday, June 12 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. in Sartell.

You will leave the workshop understanding:
• How to “see” where processes add value and where they don’t
• That giving employees authority to lead and discover more efficient ways of working in their jobs will reduce time and energy wastes while improving productivity and morale
• How to overcome common challenges to adopting a continuous improvement culture

Who Should Attend
Any manufacturer who knows basic lean concepts and has implemented early steps in Value Stream Mapping, 5S, and Kaizen events, yet seeks a higher level of continuous improvement.

This event is exclusive to manufacturers and is free of charge. Registration is required. Please visit the event page.

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