Brad Osborne, Director of Supply Chain

I recently had the opportunity to attend the GBMP Annual Lean Conference in Worcester, MA.  It was a fantastic experience being around other lean practitioners, sharing “war stories”, learning what they had done right, what they had done wrong, and what they could do better.

While there were a number of key takeaways (maybe a blog for another day!)…things like the importance of leadership involvement in Gemba, the necessity of “iterative experimentation” as a means of solving problems, and a view of Kaizen not as a single event, but a continuous improvement philosophy… the most important thing that I learned (or re-learned) was the truth in the concept that “respect for people” is the cornerstone of all initiatives, lean or otherwise.

It’s easy to forget amidst the litany of lean tools and the really cool jargon that goes along with it (I mean, come on, does it get any cooler than “genchi gembutsu”, or “kaizen”, or “heijunka”…they just roll off the tongue!), that the real cornerstone not only of lean but of all organizational undertakings is creating a culture in which people and their diverse talents, backgrounds, and experiences are not only valued, but celebrated.  True leaders realize that they have hit the jackpot when they have developed a culture like that, because they know that all they have to do is point that team in the direction of a single, common goal and they will have unlimited success.

We should never forget the years of work that go into creating a culture where everyone feels respected, where trust begets trustworthiness, where leaders have taken the time to design a work experience that creates problem-solvers and in turn feelings of individual values, and one where gratitude is shown at every opportunity.  Those are the things we enjoy at Coghlin Companies…and it should make us all very proud!