Problems are money-making opportunities. Problems lock out profits and cash. Lean is the key to unlocking the wealth. Problems solved by Lean result in improved economics.
Lean is based on discovering and fixing problems. Discovering and uncovering problems is not simple. Problems can masquerade as acceptable ways of doing things. Problems can be so entrenched that companies learn to live with them and don’t recognize the dysfunctional behavior as abnormal.
A manager told a Lean consultant that his plant had no problems with hydraulic oil leakage. Yet before they took a tour of the facility everyone had to don rubber boots because the floor was slick with leaked oil. After fifteen years of living with leaked oil, the problem had become an accepted norm.
Problems can be hidden by employees who believe their job is dependent on making the organization work despite the waste, errors, do-overs, re-work. Office cleaners love paper-filled companies. Accountants love bedeviling new tax laws and regulations. Inspectors of all types exist because products are not correctly made 100% of the time.
Generally when you hear employees say there’s no problem, there is a problem. There are always problems. On display, or in the dark, there are always problems.
Solve problems at the lowest level in your organization. Root out the root causes. Remove the root cause and remove a barrier to wealth creation.
This blog is adapted from my soon-to-be-published book on how any company can turn inevitable waste into cash. Stay tuned for continuous blogs on how to “Turn Waste into Wealth” at my website: www.markdeluzio.com.