This is the third post in the How Lean are you? series.
In a previous post I described the awareness/performance matrix to assess leanness.
Such a matrix is interesting for comparing leanness of different units, e.g. divisions, factories, business units or companies. Every unit can be placed onto the matrix according its score relatively to the two dimensions, awareness and performance.
The related metrics will be discussed in another post.
The plots – showing each unit’s performance – deliver an overall view of the situation and dispersion. This kind of benchmark is very interesting for observers, e.g. researchers, CEOs, top management, etc.
It is also of high interest for benchmarking participants, as they can compare how they perform relatively to others.
Years ago I was involved in a European-wide study about lean in automotive industry.
Our consulting firm launched the study and needed data for it.
With the help of a specialized and renown magazine, we invited companies who could qualify to answer a questionnaire. In return every participant would receive a scatter diagram with their own plot identified among the anonymized mass of all participants.
This offer had several advantages:
- Granting anonymity alleviate the legitimate reluctance to give away information regarded as confidential in a very competitive and aggressive business.
- Granting anonymity encouraged respondents to be honest with their answers, first because they would not be identified (no shame), second because expecting the same from the others, it was a chance to get a true image of one’s position relatively to all the others.
- Getting this benchmark for free (except the effort of answering) without the fear of disclosing anything confidential was appealing and ensured the success of the study.
Over years, the study gathered more and more data and we analysts were able to add the timely dimension of lean transformation, for instance how long it takes to move from one performance level to the next.