In 2008, when I started or re-started the Lean Office at Andersen Windows, which we called the Andersen Management System (AMS), I developed a model to explain the connection between the management system and results. The statistician George Box said, “All models are wrong, but some are useful.” This one was extremely useful to deploy Lean in the organization and may be useful to yours.
Ultimately, organizations need to provide better value to their customers to achieve better results. In every industry, customers expect better products and services, which means they expect lower costs, shorter lead times, and better quality. The only constant is and will always be continuous improvement.
Providing better products and services to customers requires better processes. To accomplish this, they must continually eliminate waste, improve quality, reduce variation, and eliminate employee burdens.
To improve their processes, organizations need to develop people into better problem solvers. Every employee becomes a scientist. They apply practical problem-solving following PDCA, test hypotheses, share learning, and use every problem and experiment to strengthen their problem-solving capabilities. By continuously learning from projects and activities, they become a learning organization. The organization adapts effortlessly to changing economic conditions and customer expectations.
To support their people in improving processes and achieving better results, organizations need a better management system. The management system is necessary to maintain and improve operations - from strategies to daily tasks - without being leader-dependent. It removes some dependency on specific individuals, the reliance on tribal knowledge, and the need for leaders to micro-manage employees by telling them what to do.
With the adoption and maturation of a Lean management system, people develop the use of scientific thinking to solve problems, the organization simplifies its day-to-day operations with visual management and visual controls, and leaders embrace supportive leadership. The culture then shifts to daily continuous improvement that results in providing continually better products and services for the customers and the organization achieves better results than it ever thought it could.