You have been on your lean manufacturing journey for some time now. You have demonstrated results, gotten employees’ attention, and have shown customers your company can be reliable. Sounds like this is the way to go. All is well—except for one thing.
You have a problem with Johnny, a longtime employee true to the company and respected, maybe even revered, by the workforce. But he just does not seem to be supportive of your company’s lean initiative. Even worse, Johnny is beginning to negatively influence some employees. You are concerned that Johnny might undermine the positive changes that are taking the company in a new direction. What do you do?
You’ve moved away from the traditional ways of manufacturing, with lots of inventory, a focus on efficiency, keeping the machines running, and a top-down tell-the-people-what-to-do management style. You now have a more contemporary way of running the business that focuses on throughput, maintaining high velocity, and involving the workforce in problem-solving. Many people’s jobs have changed, and that’s uncomfortable for those who were satisfied with the status quo. This can happen with people at any level, from the top floor to the shop floor.