chapter  2
15 Pages

Steelcase: Learning How to Implement Customer-Focused, Enterprise-Wide Lean

Building momentum and involvement as lean extends to office areas.
WithLea A.P. Tonkin

Right from the start, enterprise-wide lean demands support throughout the company, starting with senior leadership. Picking high-potential people as office lean consulting team members in January 2005 set the tone for the office lean activities. Steelcase senior management understands that their organizational structure and environment must support and help to sustain lean improvement activities. Members of a decision panel whose areas are involved in or affected by a process play a key role in oversight and approval of the project’s progress. Many folks in administrative areas may shy away from this step-by-step analysis of their activities. Traditional ways of doing things in the office are different from what’s happening on the plant floor, they might say. Whereas manufacturing process maps generally are linear, office process maps often branch into multiple paths; many resources are shared; and metrics such as cycle times and yield are usually unknown.