William Edwards Deming
established that the key to performance and market share is quality. All our
efforts should always consider top quality as the engine that will provide all
the good results we may expect. Managers are not exempt from this golden rule
and should keep it in mind at all times. To achieve
top quality in their management functions, executives at all levels must understand
that their mission is to produce, preserve, and promote the right environment
where all their associates feel supported and motivated to focus their efforts
in the common vision and mission of the enterprise, whatever its nature. All
this quality does not come cheap or easy, it demands a serious commitment, but
it produces countless savings, satisfaction, and profit.
It is common knowledge
among consultants, successful managers, and other lean-manufacturing professionals:
Projects don’t fly
unless they are completely supported by all levels of management. Unfortunately
many members of the management team in most companies have the idea that all the
efforts to run a lean operation should be solely developed by the people on the
Wrong! Lean manufacturing
must be a collective commitment in order to become a complete success, and the new
culture of the whole enterprise. Only those companies where everyone from the top and
from the bottom are informed of the benefits and therefore become clear
supporters of the movement, can see real results and an abundant ROI.
That is when (SLIM)
Supportive Leadership Improved Management also called Supportive Leadership Integrated
Management comes handy. SLIM is not only to improve the manufacturing
operations. SLIM has a broad focus and can also apply as...
One of the first
manifestations of this is definitely the improved evolution of TPM that we
recently introduced to our members and readers: TPR (Total
Management (I should
emphasize “effective management” or at least “informed management”)
involvement will become a key element to really produce the results that our
current competitive environment requires from each one of us.
Since I began my career as
a consultant, I could see the need for the management groups to urgently make
important changes in the way they do their jobs. Not only Change Management is
needed to handle the natural challenges we face day after day, but now I
strongly recommend Management Change! This is to reflect the need for attitude
change so that managers start getting “connected to Earth” (or to
Something very important
that in most lean implementations is quickly forgotten, is the
"Follow-up". A Steering committee
must be set in place and develop a formal awareness in each of its members about
how critical their function is. This
committee should be comprised of people from different layers in the
organization. One of the basic support projects when implementing SLIM is to
prepare these members so they know exactly how to provide the best service.
we said at the beginning all of this is about a serious commitment to quality in
everything we do. It is not easy but it is highly profitable! The involvement and
support must be sustained, so that the SLIM structure really works in favor of
the implementations. We are seeing many companies succeed when they accomplish
the correct, balanced support from every individual. We know that management is
the key group to create this new revolution in the way we do our work. This
authentic support must be considered one of the best investments that the
company will ever make. This is the task of the Steering Committee.
Quite frequently, when I visit a
new company, managers give me a description of their process and the working
environment. Later I go visit the plant and realize that many of those managers
have not been in touch with their people, process, and reality in recent days,
weeks or even years.
I know that political,
financial, and business issues are critical too, but the main source of wealth
is the production area. Letting it run without paying enough attention to it
leads to a very poor performance and lower-than-potential profits.
And, how does that
“Earth connection” get established and sustained? Simple: common sense, the
least common of senses.
It has been proven and
confirmed in numerous sociological studies that people do not enjoy receiving
orders from a boss. At the same time, they have discovered that most human beings
enjoy contributing their efforts towards a successful cause. The key to getting
all that valuable energy conveyed in the right direction is Supportive
Management (SLIM). From now on, the concept of management must change from the old
authoritarian to a new leadership behavior. Authoritarian bosses were needed in the past, because
people were not always educated, informed, and focused on objectives.