In their book The Machine that Changed the World, James Womack and Daniel Jones coined the phrase “Lean” while comparing the cultural and enterprise system differences between Japanese, American, and European auto manufacturers. As the Lean philosophy spread, western manufacturers and service organizations began to wage war on process waste by focusing on point-solution improvements.
However, many of these organizations struggled to sustain improvements over the long term. Successful Lean transformations, they learned, require a business to not only make system improvements, but also address cultural issues.
MRC’s Lean model emphasizes strategic Lean transformation through cultural engagement. From Toyota, Lean practitioners have learned that “There can be no kaizen without standard work” (Taiichi Ohno). Achieving future improvements are predicated on:
- Establishing expectations for cultural behaviors and system performance; and
- Understanding the current state of the business culture and systems.
Knowledge of the current state identifies gaps between where an organization is and where it would like to be. Next, these gaps are addressed through structured problem solving and continuous improvement.
Toyota’s DAMI process standardization philosophy describes how a process matures from a chaotic state to one in which daily improvement is possible. DAMI is defined as follows:
Defining the standard is the documentation of input requirements and output expectations
Achieving the standard is the creation of a universal approach for meeting standards
Maintaining the standard is the creation of management systems to track performance
Improving the standard is the embedding of strategic, structured problem-solving routines
Organizations can use the DAMI philosophy create organizational stability and drive sustainable improvements to their cultures and enterprise systems.