Take Action to Make Things Happen

In life, there are those who watch things happen, and those who step up, take action, and make them happen.  This concept is woven into the fabric of today’s aggressive and diverse economic landscape where organizations seldom stumble upon success by simply having a strong product or service offering. On the contrary, attaining business differentiation — and sustaining a level of success — requires assertive action – that is; a strong and enduring bias for action. Leading organizations do not sit back and hope for better results. They are far too busy creating them.

the opposite of take action - how I feel all the timeOver time, whether we admit it to ourselves or not, each of us have fallen victim to envy. Being human, we simply cannot help ourselves. When we see others win the lottery, get a promotion, or take an extravagant trip, there’s a small part of us that asks, “Why not me?” We wonder why and how others are achieving such great things. Ironically, in most of these situations, we never bought a lottery ticket, didn’t take the time to apply for the job, and / or spent our vacation money on a home renovation project. Yes, we have high aspirations, but we often make no real commitment — or exert any true energy — to reaching them.

This type of behavior is commonplace in the business community. Leaders often gain a better understanding of their own organization’s challenges by focusing on (envying) their competitors’ successes. For example, upon hearing how another organization realized millions of dollars in cost savings or has been recognized as one of the “best places to work” as a result of Lean transformation efforts,  many leaders do little more than share the story with their team and ask “Why not me (us)?” Even though there are countless business cases supporting waste elimination initiatives, few dedicate sufficient time and resources to effectively implement improvements. For those that do, many struggle to commit to long-term change and, therefore, find themselves circling back to the same question.

Lean is a people system that promotes teamwork. Instead of an environment of one-upsmanship, with Lean you have people (teams) that focus together on common objectives.  A powerful body of knowledge, it creates an atmosphere in which every employee at every level has the focus, structure, discipline, and ownership required to generate improvement, commitment, pride, and enthusiasm that causes the organization to excel. When supported by structured engagement, Lean methods improve every business challenges and job functions. A few examples include:

Employee Retention

A hospital had been experiencing a high degree of front line employee turnover for several years. Recent metrics revealed that 47% of its new hires left in the first 12 months and 74% in the first 18 months. To address this significant challenge, a disciplined, comprehensive project was organized to drive improvements that would increase employee involvement and reduce ongoing organization stressors fueling high turnover. Partnering with Kaufman Global, problems were measurably targeted and new methods and systems were introduced to address issues through Lean Leadership® learning, Rapid Performance Evaluation (RPE), and The Lean Daily Management System ® (LDMS) implementation. Employee ideas are now constructively integrated into the daily work. After only one and a half months on the project, employee flight stopped its free-fall and signs are good for a sustainable reverse of fortune. Employees can now be heard saying, “this is our chance to make a difference. ” Related article: Employee Retention: Strategy and Tactics.

Rework and Machinery Stability

A global tire manufacturer needed to reduce rework and improve machine stability as a foundation for the implementation of a pull scheduling system. Kaufman Global provided oversight of the strategy, design and sequencing of the project through the development and launch of a multi-phased approach. Phase 1 consisted of establishing cross-functional teams to enhance processes for improving changeover times and overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). Phase 2 involved the pull system development and associated pre-implementation work. To drive sustainable change, workgroups and task forces were mentored, trained, and engaged by working side-by-side with Kaufman Global to actively apply Lean principles to their operations.

Upon completion, a successful demand-pull inventory management and scheduling system was developed to right-size inventory, enabling $750K in annualized savings. Cycle time was also reduced by 17%, resulting in an increased capacity of 274 tires per day.


One of the largest mini-mill steel makers in North America needed to improve productivity on direct labor by redeploying manpower, reducing overtime, and increasing utilization. With a focus on enhancing operational and functional performance, the client needed to develop internal Lean experts to drive improvements and compel a company-wide customer-focused culture. Over a two-year period, Kaufman Global led analysis, program design, implementation and internal capability development efforts. Plant throughput was optimized by expanding OEE, equipment reliability, product yield, and changeover time work streams. A production planning system was also developed to increase responsiveness to customer demand.

As a result, the client achieved capacity increases through a 43% reduction in changeover time, enabling $1.1M in additional revenue. Raw material inventory was reduced by over 50%, driving savings of $25K per month. They also recovered 415 man hours, saved 334 miles of walking and resolved four ergonomic issues.

Success stories like these are abundant for those organizations who fully commit to establishing a Lean culture. Want to find out more about how Kaufman Global works with clients around the world to improve and sustain their results, contact us here.