Stop whining how hard it is to “sustain” your continuous improvement efforts. You have not yet reached the transformational shift to real Lean if you are having to arm wrestle your people into sustaining an improvement culture. The ugly truth for most companies is unless you reorganize into teams of people who are focused on specific product families, you will not leverage the improvements possible with a Lean culture.
If your company is still organized in functional teams rather than focused teams, you will eventually hit an improvement wall. It is too hard to continue improving if the individual can’t reach in and shake sense into the entire flow of a process. The processes they own get improved – that’s it, no more. You limit the individual’s ownership of a process if they are organized into functional areas rather than in focused teams.
The transformational possibilities – and ultimately the path towards truly self-sustaining continuous improvement – lies within the individual who is able to see and interact with the entire process of adding value – not just one functional area. The team that owns much longer paths of a process can influence more, see transformational possibilities easier, and ultimately break through that barrier to reach continuous, sustainable improvement.
LeanProToolbox has developed a tool to assist Lean practitioners form Product Families. Be sure to check it out.