If you want to learn about lean, your choices include hiring a consultant, attending seminars and conferences, visiting Internet forums or chat rooms, and reading books (yes, we publish a few).
But there’s another alternative, not widely available: joining a local lean networking group.
Medtronic, which has offices in
The consortium’s mission is to improve the performance of businesses and organizations in the
It started out as a group of 16 companies in the area. Last year, another group of 16 was created.
Each group meets once a month at one of its member companies. They tour the facilities, and members offer a critique. They then go around the room asking “How are you doing?” to discuss best practices and share knowledge and experience.
Actually, it’s more involved than that. The group has objectives and strategies for individual members, which range from implementing standard measurements in every value stream to implementing a minimum of three kaizens per week.
And the consortium’s goals go beyond just spreading lean knowledge. They want to promote economic development in the
When Bussell and Lad Daniels, president of the First Coast Manufacturers Association, created the consortium, they modeled it after a similar organization in
And I know of at least one other example of this type of organization: the Northwest High Performance Enterprise Consortium, based in
These types of groups can be extremely valuable, both in helping more businesses become lean and in creating pockets of business excellence.
I suspect this type of group doesn’t work well if it becomes too large. Therefore, you need many of them around the country (and the world) to have a large-scale impact.
Do you know of others? Is your company involved in one? Let’s do some online networking – share what you know with the rest of us.