Auburn Works

Auburn Technical Assistance Center (ATAC)

Riding a bike – Once you learn to ride a bike you never forget - Working in a system is like riding a bike – We pedal faster if needed or slower, turning and braking we just have to manage the system – Now If we had to build a bike how many of us could accomplish this task?? How about building a production system??  Often the questions asked are: Why are there so few examples of great companies? Why do so many Lean implementations fail?? Maybe the question should be why do we expect our leaders to be able to implement a production system without the training and mentoring to accomplish the task?

Most people have worked in a system – good, bad or in-between – but few leaders have ever implemented a successful lean production system. We are asking our leaders to do something differently, something they typically haven’t been exposed to in B-School, namely To Make Discoveries not Decisions. We need to Learn How To Learn.

Implementing a production is a complex system, one that you just won’t get correct the first time – As you implement you will learn- new data & wisdom to make a better decision. This would be called discovery not decision making. To accomplish this implementing a production, one needs to:

  1. Learn by doing
  2. Do frequently
  3. Do in small increments
  4. Have feedback
  5. Be in a safe learning environment

Bill Parcells, NFL head coach said “Anyone can drive a Cadillac, What about the other cars?” It’s easy to work in a great production system, what about the others?

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