Enablers for a Successful Lean Transformation

When you decide to embark on a Lean transformation, you must make sure that the right enablers of a successful deployment are in place. Despite all the hard work I have seen companies put in to making their Lean transformations’ thrive, many of them fail because of a lack of these key enablers within the companies’ business infrastructure.

Defining a Lean Transformation

But first, what is a Lean transformation?

A Lean transformation typically impacts the strategic business objectives and outcomes of a company and usually takes three to six months to complete. Sponsored by a member of the top management team and delivered by a high powered cross-functional team, this transformation is typically fast paced, holistic, integrative and involves a large number of employees across hierarchies. The successful execution of a Lean transformation requires delivery of a large number of diagnostics, Lean breakthroughs (kaizen events), and short duration projects (15 to 30 days projects).


Service Lean Transformation Examples

Some examples of a service Lean transformation are as follows:

  • A service transformation of a direct banking business
  • Improving the sales force effectiveness of a mortgage business
  • Improving the customer engagement of a hospitality business
  • Enhancing the profitability of a health care business
  • Improving the EBIT margin of a food services business
  • Improving the productivity of credit processing of an auto finance business

As you can see, none of the above transformations directly refer to Lean. But these examples show specific business areas that can be holistically improved using Lean methods.

Lean Transformation Enablers

I’ve listed the following enablers for a successful Lean transformation below:

  • An engaged sponsor
  • A charismatic leader
  • A diverse team
  • An inspiring vision
  • A set of accomplished Lean change agents
  • A supportive Lean office
  • A clear set of metrics (refer to my earlier column)
  • An impeccable change management plan
  • A well crafted roadmap and project management architecture
  • A well defined risk mitigation plan
  • An assorted set of structured reviews
  • A robust awareness and capability development plan
  • A good rewards, recognition and communication plan
  • A bold plan that helps in sustaining the gains

In my next few columns, I shall delve into the details of some of the above enablers that silently make a Lean transformation possible. Please let me know if you have any additional recommendations on the enablers, as well as which enablers you believe I should cover more in-depth in my future columns.