Monday, September 20, 2010

Respect, support and challenge your partners and suppliers

Humans often look to the animal world for inspiration. Especially exemplary are ants, which organize themselves brilliantly and seemingly never run out of team spirit. This successful species enters into a partnership with other organisms so that both sides profit. For example, ants raise aphids and actively protect them from enemies. In return, the aphids give the ants a sweet nectar. To linger in the ant world: If the aphids were not protected and nurtured, there would be no nectar. Even in an ant colony, the customer-supplier principle applies: all ants have a fixed task, with which they support other ants with different functions. This principle makes the entire colony successful. Now let’s transfer this successful principle to our workplace. We too must build and nurture effective partnerships in order to be successful. For example, Suppliers provide on time delivery of parts, Stamping produces parts for Assembly, Assembly provides the product needed at the plants, etc. In Lean, these partnerships are characterized by mutual respect and support. One-sided, exploitive relationships usually don’t last long. They end up demoralizing one or both sides, which has a negative impact on teamwork, which in turn adversely affects performance and quality.

Are you ensuring parts are deliver on time to your customers (other OU, other plants)?

Are you a team player?

Are you following your standard work? (if not, imagine an ant going against the flow of all other ants)

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