Throughout my career I’ve had the pleasure of meeting colleagues from a very large variety of manufacturing cultures. Sometimes I talk to people that work in a “mass” environment with poor performance, and I hear about how good it must be to work in an efficient workplace, with relatively good performance. I always get the questions about how easy it is.

Let me tell you…it’s not easy, and by the way – it shouldn’t be.

You might ask me why… and here are some reasons.

The name of the game is continuous improvement. If your organization doesn’t get better, then you aren’t ¬†going anywhere. You maintain your improvements be continuously revising your metrics to reflect your improvements. Your¬†plant may start at 50% production efficiency, then move to 75%, then to 90%, then to 95%, 97%, 99%, 99.5%, etc…how hard do you think it is to go from 99% to 99.5% production efficiency? It’s very difficult – probably more difficult than going from 50 to 75%. No doubt, you’re doing much better at 99% than you were at 50%… but then again, the 50% number doesn’t matter anymore, since your system has grown to be much more capable than that.

Now, imagine what it’s like to have this approach with all of the organizational metrics.The unique part about all of this is that this type of culture grooms people into constantly thinking of how to get better every day.That’s a powerful element.

Any people out there living through this type of culture? What are your challenges and how do you get through them?

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