Lean Games - A Great Way To Train And Motivate Your Organization


Just about everybody who has had the task of motivating and training organizations in the lean principles has experienced a set of barriers, in particular when dealing with folks who are reluctant to buy into the Lean principles and Lean thinking.

How generally have we not heard "Nicely it sounds all right in theory but it will never work in genuine life!"

To a certain degree these consumers have a point. I have had to listen to numerous consultants and teachers who are preaching Lean principles, but with out the ability to link the great theories to the real globe.

And when they are challenged, the response regularly is: "Properly it does function, just appear at Toyota!" Guess what? That is not going to convince a sceptical production manager with a large number of years of expertise in a regular batch production.

In my expertise it is highly necessary to be able to let the trainees see and feel how the lean tools can really be the answers to a lot of frequent challenges.

It is also a popular fact, that many people have distinctive ways of understanding, some are able to understand just by reading a text, though other people need visual input - and Power Point slides are not the answer!

To deal with this, we have had good good results in working with Lean games as awesome way of demonstrating that the Lean tools and principles really function in real life.

In fact our evaluations from our fundamental Lean training sessions were improved from just above average to best scores each time when we integrated lean games!

How to use a Lean game in a training session

The way we use it, is to initially train the students in the fundamental tools, not into fantastic detail, but just a brief introduction.

And then move on to a Lean game session, where we simulate a production based on traditional batch principles.

Then we introduce some of the lean tools into the setup, and now everybody experience how every tool is affecting lead time, function in progress, high quality and profitability.

Between the numerous game cycles it is vital to get some useful discussions on what the effect was of the adjustments.

It creates awesome involvement and motivation from the students, and even the greatest concrete heads are generally growing into lean manufacturing preachers.

As a side effect it's fantastic enjoyable and provides a lot of superior laughs. This is also an vital factor if the students in the session do not know every other. Or use it as a team building tool, in the team you learn, you create tips together and you have enjoyable together, a common encounter that enhance the team feeling.

Which games are accessible?

There are various lean games out there in the marketplace. They all have unique qualities and it is significant to pick a game that gives you the positive effects without becoming tricky to facilitate.

There is a new shop on the net with which are the exact games that we are working with in our successful training session.

In a later post I will touch on the subject on how to assess what Lean game suits your requirements greatest.

But you should at least think about some of these criteria:

  • - What numbers of participants are necessary?
  • - Is there a detailed and helpful guide for the instructor?
  • - Playing time
  • - Which Lean tools are applied in the course of the game?
  • - Setup time for the game

Further possibilities

There are many other scenarios, besides training sessions, where you can use the Lean games as a amazing tool. A excellent example is in the function with continuous improvements.

It is also a very good notion to try to relate the game situation to the type of products that the students are familiar with.

In this article I have only spoken about Lean games as a tool for teaching Lean principles in a production environment, but new games are evolving also for teaching how to apply lean tools in administrative processes.

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