The first thing that is needed to get your LEAN program started is a desire for your company to improve and do better.
That's Easy, right?
Should be a no-brainer.
The struggle that most people have with this simple thing is Management Buy In.
Don't get me wrong they will all profess to wanting to improve and I sincerely believe that they all want to. They like to be praised with finding the solution that makes their plant better and more profitable. The part they don't always buy into is the methodology behind LEAN. They don't always see the importance of their participation in the principles. This becomes a big problem down the road when you need their support and they are sitting on the fence or don't step up. And the people on the manufacturing floor can see right through them and then your efforts either FAIL or you take a major step back and have to make up that ground you lost over the next few years.
When our Engineer (Sensei) was hired he realized that this would be his first major obstacle in converting our plant to a LEAN culture. He knew if he could get our managers and facilitators on board that everyone else would fall in line. So he spent a good 6 months drilling LEAN into them and re-drilling them again and again until he felt comfortable taking the principles to our manufacturing floor.
So the 3 major things that you need in order to get started in LEAN is:
1. Desire for change and improvement.
2. A Sensei. This is someone that has a very keen knowledge of LEAN and is someone that can answer the questions that arise in your journey of LEAN.
3. Management Buy-In.