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Some say that insight comes when we remember something valuable after forgetting what we were taught. What value has come back to you after forgetting the ‘gems’ of the Summit of four months ago? Not trusting my memory, I have rummaged through my notes, and the slides shared after the Summit, extracting what resonated, if somewhat whimsically, for me four months later. Here are my most whimsical insights from my rummaging:

FURUHASHI TAKEYUKI (Japan) on ‘Enhancing global competitiveness’ + ‘Reflections from an 11-year programme’

  • Vision: “Sell 1, Make 1”
  • 3 different types of management in developing ‘Two pillars for flow and quality’
  • For control (for daily operations, based on standard work, involving middle and functional management to sustain performance levels at current norms & standards)
  • For incremental improvement (Kaizen, involving all the people)
  • For transformation of the business to a new business model; ‘breakthrough’ involving top management once in 5 or 10 or 20 years
  • ‘You can catch a tiger when he appears in front of you’ (tiger = customer’s request)

DAVE BRUNT (CEO Lean Enterprise Academy UK) on ‘Factors for lean transformation’ + ‘Lean transformation architecture’

  • Transformation: “A process of profound change that orients the organisation in a new direction and takes it to an entirely different level of effectiveness”
  • Lean Thinking is Fragile, that’s why it’s such a competitive advantage

KIM BARNAS (CEO Catalysis USA) on ‘Lean leadership – lessons from the field’ + ‘A lean management system’

  • They do not use the term ‘Lean’ but rather refer to ‘Scientific problem solving’
  • Point-of-impact leader standard work Principle-based lean leadership
  • Leadership behaviour self-assessed on five dimensions:
    • Willingness
    • Humility
    • Curiosity
    • Perseverance
    • Self-discipline

POMPI MAHLANGU (Johnson Matthey) on ‘A3 Thinking in Manufacturing’

  • Respect operators and ask the right questions (humble enquiry ) and do not remove the responsibility from them
  • Leaders to coach team not to fix the problems
  • Project leader chosen for attitude

BHAVNA PATEL (CEO, Groote Schuur Hospital) on ‘Leadership and Continuous Improvement’

  • The problem owner has a coach
  • Double-loop PDCA (courtesy of Anton Grutter of LIA)

KOBUS MALAN (Recently retired President Sandvik Mining & Rock Tech) on ‘Reflections on a global lean transformation leadership journey’ + ‘Implementing lean product development’

  • Link Lean to company Strategy, create a common Goal
  • Spend more time on Human Factors than on Lean Processes
  • The Pulse Method and meetings – Do not cancel or postpone Pulse Meetings!

WEBSTER KUSHATA (Owner and Chief Dreaming Officer, Nzum Nzum Group) on ‘From R3.50 to the Sky’

  • Monetize your passion (for me it’s people)

ERWIN TELEMANS (CEO CCBRT Tanzania healthcare) on ‘A Seven Year Journey of Leadership and Organisational Transformation’

  • Passion personified, in pursuit of clearly articulated True North

SAM VOS (Director U-Turn) on ‘Shared Data for a Lean Civic Society’

  • Helping homeless people leave the streets for good – using data and value  stream mapping

DIRK VAN GOUBERGEN (Van Goubergen P&M, Belgium) on ‘Lean service value stream’

  • Quoting Taiichi Ohno: “All we are doing is looking at the time line from the moment the customer gives us an order to the point when we collect the cash. And we are reducing the time line by reducing the non-value adding waste”
  • There is no path to lean; lean is the path!

STEVE MATHEW (MD of Fireworkx) on Lean thinking for the digital world

  • Quoting James Clear: “We do not rise to the level of our goals, we fall to the level of our systems.”

STEPHAN DREES (Operations Manager, In2Foods) & the Nibbly Bits Team on How Nibbly Bits empowered its people and transformed its managerial culture

  • My comment on this: You had to be there to experience, not just see, the joy of engagement and achievement!
  • Want better employees? Be a better employer.
  • We read. We share what we read. We encourage everyone to read.

Beyond these reflections, but still looking back on the Lean Summit Africa 2018, I find ‘scenes’ popping into my mind, of tea-times, the meals, of people from all over SA, Africa and beyond, of the sponsor tables, of the smiling faces at the Summit reception desk, and of the many comments of how much the event was valued. Such a delight to be part of the energy and inspiration on show!

So, now I have shown you my whimsical reflections, what are yours? Please share. Please!

Warm regards,

Norman Faull, 
Chairman, Lean Institute Africa

P.S. My apologies if you presented a workshop or were a speaker and I have not shown any of your material – I have only reflected on those speakers whose sessions I personally attended. All of you made an immense contribution to the success of the event, but it is also why I invite others, and you, to feed in ‘whimsical reflections.’