Lean transformation as an approach to successful change

Lean transformation als aanpak voor succesvolle verandering
Lean Transformation
Change Management

Most organisations struggle with the amount and speed at which new change projects are defined. It’s not easy to assign fixed resources to these long-term projects. Moreover, these projects usually take a long time, which means that a large number of employees have a tendency to drop out, because the results take (too) long to materialise.

The "Lean Transformation" approach helps you to achieve speed in the development of these change projects. In "Lean Transformation", "transformation" stands for a thorough change approach with a fundamental culture shift, and "lean" for the techniques that can thereby be used. We are thinking here, for example, of process description via value stream mapping (VSM), the setting up of visual management, and listening to the customer via Voice of the Customer (VOC).

In this approach, the change project is divided into smaller parts, which are planned in waves of three months. These smaller parts can be departments or processes. At the end of each wave, at least one solution will have been tested (an altered process or a new method within the department) that works and achieves the desired results. The solution can often be immediately implemented on a large scale afterwards. This can take another three to six months where a number of IT technical changes have to take place, which is still faster than is usually the case, as the solution is already known and the specifications are provided in detail.

Employees are heavily involved, and go through a fast and thorough approach. After all, it is always intended that the organisation should continue to work on other improvement initiatives after the solution has been implemented and the results secured. The necessary creativity is required from the managers here, in order to (partially) free the employees from their daily tasks for a limited time. Several projects can be worked on at the same time, during a maximum of three different waves per year. A larger organisation can thereby go through the entire transformation in two to three years.

Companies that have gone through this approach are enthusiastic:

  • There is a great focus on the change process and on achieving results. You can free up employees for a short period more quickly than for a project of one year and longer.
  • Employees are often reluctant at first, but they are usually won over for this approach if they feel that there is genuine commitment, and that they are the experts in their domain who can carry out the improvement.

A good preparation of the route is necessary before starting. Roles and responsibilities are clearly defined. The choice of the first project(s) is essential, and must achieve the desired results. In this way, the organisation feels that a new dynamic has come into play. Other important factors are commitment and a clear investment of time by employees and executives. Only in this way can results be achieved within the three months of well-defined divisions and processes.

In short: If shortening the running time of processes, cost control or competency building issues need to be improved, "Lean Transformation" is the ideal approach.

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