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56 The PCB Magazine • May 2014 DOES CORPORATE LEAN WORK? continues building trust with the people in the plant. I would have to work long hours by myself at home working out materials for training, call- ing people for reports on costs at the plant, hashing over stuff, preparing stuff, and plan- ning the Kaizen events. I had to figure out how the operations of the plant were going to run and be maintained, when so much of my staff's time would be tied up in these Kaizen efforts. And I had to be there for the events, and on the floor, and make myself completely avail- able to everyone at the plant. I had to be there when people were down, when people weren't measuring up, and I had to be there to celebrate their success. I had to be there to push them a little bit further and always be the one that helps them find their confidence in themselves, maybe even beyond what they thought possi- ble. That is what Kaizen is all about: change for the good of all. That is what it truly means to lead the charge: having people willingly follow you through change for the good of all. More importantly, that is the work required to build a truly engaged work force. An engaged work force that I knew one day would be able to run the plant almost entirely on their own! This was the vision in my head and it was 180° opposite of how I had been running the plant! But with this decision and commitment, I also knew there was a downside and cost. All of this change effort would require patience and time. Time, which I feared I did not have, and patience I would try to find deep inside myself. By making the decision to be the true leader of this effort, I would effectively be making myself a temporary plant manager. My plant manag- er role would be subordinate to my role as the PowerLean leader and all of the work and time and training and meetings that would be re- quired would mean an executive summary that my boss demanded, no matter how urgent his request, would have to wait. In any plant today, in any industry, despite all of their proclamations about how they sup- port Lean, few companies would tolerate having a plant manager behave as if their management job was subordinate to the Lean initiative. For PowerLean, this requirement is non-negotiable. It is a big reason for not even starting when I mentor plant managers in my consulting work. But this requirement of commitment, to lead the charge, is the only way to achieve real, sus- tained change with a really significant and sus- tainable business result. If you don't have this then what you have is a bunch of pretty slides, some funny number manipulations, and some hand waving. Slides and presentations don't lead people. Leaders lead people and without leaders there is no real change. This is an abso- lute undisputed fact. What were the results of my efforts? Feast your eyes on the following: • Capacity increased an average of 25% • Set-up time reduced by 50% • Total cycle time reduced by 35% • Distance traveled reduced by 70% • WIP inventory reduced by nearly 70% • Cycle time < Takt time • Improved space utilization and equipment reliability • Reduced labor cost • Increased operating income and cash flow • Improved employee satisfaction These operational improvements had a sig- nificant impact on business results—results that got us all out from underneath the negative at- tention and pressure at the highest levels of the company. The business results included: • On-time shipping approaching 99% • Customer satisfaction above 97% • First pass yield at over 97% (one percentage point was due to QA testing) • Almost nonexistent WIP • No OSHA lost workday cases away (LWDCA) for more than six years • High employee satisfaction • One of the best operating income percentages among the U.S. operations Whew! It worked! But all of this isn't what makes me most proud of my contribution back then. Let me explain. I have been in too many plants in my life where the employees really don't like their jobs, because their jobs stress them out. At some plants, I have seen all of the employees back their cars into the parking spots so that they

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