5 Consequences of Implementing Lean Manufacturing without Commitment [Part 2]


In our last post: 5 Effects of a Failed Lean Manufacturing Implementation we discussed effects that are linked primarily to a manufacturer’s resources. This week we explore effects that are more directly related to your workforce. Here are the remaining effects of a failed Lean implementation:

3. Loss of credibility – When leadership teams launch a poorly managed Lean manufacturing initiative, they are risking a significant amount of credibility with their staff. Every time there is a failed attempt, we are building up passive resistance that eventually becomes active and could sabotage future efforts. Be very mindful of the message you are sending through your commitments and actions as they leave a legacy in the minds of those you lead. Your leadership team might become untrustworthy in the eyes of the team.

Girl in a jacket

4. Negative reactions – Depending on the state of your culture you may have a hard time getting buy-in from your staff. Once you have it, the last thing you want to do is waste it by not considering their efforts. Engaged employees without fail will be energetic and passionate about the initiative; especially when they feel empowered and in control of their work. If they feel their leaders are not there for them, negative reactions start to build up:

    1. Frustration, as they feel they have been betrayed through broken promises.
    2. Confusion, people will naturally question a sudden change in direction or when a leader’s actions do not match their words.
    3. Fatigue: When too many initiatives or attempts happen, employees become so discouraged they question every suggested change.
    4. Resistance, when leadership teams waste resources and are not trustworthy in the eyes of staff, employees will inevitably resist change. I have seen employees resist good ideas they are all for, just because they are frustrated from past failed attempts.

5. Employee Turnover – There comes a time when employees feel so disappointed that they reach a point of no return. When this happens, you start to see them flee the organization. A concerning point is that this happens commonly with engaged employees. Engaged employees are emotionally invested in making things better and when they feel their efforts are slighted by their leaders they can shut down. Understand, they might not want to be a part of an organization that is content with the status quo. These people are change agents that feel rewarded when you empower them. Many manufacturers end up watching valuable team members and a wealth of skill walk out the door because of poor leadership.

As you can see, there are inherent consequences to not committing fully once you decide to launch an initiative as critical as adopting Lean manufacturing in your organization. I will leave you with a quote from Heidi Reeder “Commitment is the foundation of great accomplishments.”


If you are serious about implementing Lean manufacturing and want to get the results that evade most manufacturers, schedule a time to discuss your situation and how we can help.

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