First and foremost, identify how a Lean program ties into the strategic objectives of an organization. Building capability does cost money and take time, so you want to make sure you’re aligned with company goals or it will be difficult to launch either. Does your organization have strategic goals around employee engagement, continuous improvement, or operational excellence? If so, these are a good linkage to strategic areas and Lean. In manufacturing, a very successful approach has been to set up a model line where a production line is set up using many tools for single-piece flow to demonstrate proof of concept, and then working on a sustainability plan next moving into other parts of the organization.

Tracy O'Rourke

Tracy is a Managing Partner & Executive Advisor at For almost 20 years, she's helped leading organizations like Washington State, Cisco and GE build problem-solving muscles with Lean Six Sigma to achieve their goals.