World-Class, Lean Performance in the SMEs - Small and Medium Enterprises - by Carlo Scodanibbio, Industrial & Business Consultant - Lean Management Consultant
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Carlo Scodanibbio
Industrial & Business Consultant
Lean Management Consultant
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my philosophy, my vision, my mission

I believe in Value and Lean.
I believe that in many decades of industrialisation we have somehow lost a key word and a key concept: value - value that Enterprises offer to Clients - value generated by productive processes - value produced by managers and employees in their daily confrontation with reality - value produced by plant, equipment, machines, and technology - value brought in by suppliers - value inherent in people know-how - value generated by continuous improvement.........
Today, World Class Performers are re-discovering the vital importance of this key concept, and build enterprises engineered to produce pure, abundant value.

World Class Performers are Lean Enterprises that build their competitiveness on the value parameter: their processes are waste-free, and under continuous improvement - their people understand value, and are extremely critical about the way they produce it - their plant and their technology are managed to generate extremely high levels of output value - customers' satisfaction is their primary target, and they achieve it by offering customers an ever increasing level of value - suppliers and sub-suppliers, clients and clients of clients become integral part of a "value-chain" ending only at end-user level - their vision, their mission, their strategies, their targets, their industrial culture, their corporate communication, their organisational structure..... are all focusing on this very, primary concept: value.

I believe that in a rapidly changing world featuring globalism and vanishing borders all Enterprises, of any size, must and can today perform as the "best in the classroom" by adopting Lean Thinking as their philosophy and the Value Adding Management discipline as their guiding light.

My philosophy rotates around the key concept of value, and my training and consulting services are structured to enable Small and Medium size Enterprises to achieve higher levels of performance by re-discovering "value" as key parameter for competitiveness and success.
 

I believe in Integration.
I believe that as specialisation has been the key feature of last century's industry, integration is going to be the key feature of the new millennium industry.

Industry has been built around the concept of "specialisation" from well over a century: processes, products, services, jobs, machine functions, etc. show, even today, a high degree of specialisation.
Associated to specialisation, however, there is another feature which is "fragmentation": fragmentation of processes, of work, of operations, of activities, of tasks........
I believe that specialisation and fragmentation are enemy number one when aiming at high levels of performance.
I believe that only integration sets the path to excellence and real industrial performance.

Integration is associated with flexibility, adaptability, government and control of change: all important features in our industrial world of today and tomorrow.
Integration is associated with overall view, overall control, and overall, holistic approach to performance.

For far too long many Enterprises, especially of small and medium size, have tried to achieve competitiveness and performance by embracing the "fashion" management discipline of the time, be it Quality Assurance, Total Quality Management, Zero Defects, Productivity Improvement, Process Improvement and Management.... or effective Management techniques, or Leadership techniques, or a Continuous Improvement approach, or Management by Objectives..... and even One-Minute Management..... trusting they had come across the truth and the recipe to success....
To discover eventually, in many cases, that the improvement in performance was not real, or consistent, or stable......
I believe that real improvement in performance can only be obtained with an integrated approach, focusing on the key concept of "value" as guiding light, and powered by the use of a number of appropriate disciplines "in association" and simultaneous deployment.
Like to say that targeting at quality improvement without considering simultaneously the productivity aspect is not producing real improvement - in fact it has never generated real improvement, because quality and productivity are always the two sides of the same medal. And vice-versa.
Like to say that focusing on process improvement or process re-engineering without getting the concerned employees highly involved and without adopting adequate technology aids can only bring very marginal results.
Like to say that going for a Kaizen style of continuous improvement without establishing priorities and targets (possibly through adequate Benchmarking) may fail, as it has failed.

Industrial history is full of examples of failures caused by lack of integration or by excessive focus on a single, specialised technique/discipline.....
Only an integrated view (".....see the tree, not the leaves....." or ".....see the temple, not only the pillars....") can produce valid, high level results.

Because when and only when people, machines, methods, techniques and disciplines become a harmonious, integrated combination, in symbiosis with one another, can an Enterprise aim at superior performance.
Moreover, this "integration" key feature should not only be the task of top management of an Enterprise but should, to my opinion, be a feature of the Enterprise as a whole: this may be clearly noticed in World Class Enterprises.

I believe that in an Enterprise targeting at high performance all minds must be made aware of the strategic importance of "integration" and addressed to that very direction.
I believe that processes must be integrated, work must be integrated (and not fragmented), and approaches must be integrated.
Only in this way people may generate high performance and simultaneously achieve real job satisfaction.
 

I believe in Simplicity.
I believe that being in business, performing well as an Enterprise, manufacturing products or providing services, is and should be simple, and, most of all, be kept simple - especially in a world in which a predominant feature is complexity.

It is my view that if any process, situation, or problem is too complex to be understood, solved or managed, there is something very wrong behind it and, rather than tackling complexity, complexity should be eliminated to begin with.
I notice that in many decades of industrialisation things have become more and more complex.
I refer to: complex, fragmented processes - pyramidal, bureaucratic, complex, split-function organisational structures - processes built on waste rather than around value - complex management practices - complexity of communication - complex and even distorted thinking, at all levels - etc.
Therefore I believe that time has come to bring things back to basics, back to elementary shapes, back to reality, back to simplicity, back to value.

I believe that World Class Enterprises have well understood this basic concept, and I believe that Enterprises aiming at excellence or high performance status must, first af all, re-simplify and make their dynamics, their processes, and their approaches very practical.

I often follow the trend and offer to participants in my courses the latest techniques in: communication - leadership - team building - self-improvement - etc.
However, I believe that practicality and simplicity are even more essential than techniques.
I believe that what really counts is the ability to simplify processes and to make them more linear, more human, more understandable.

I believe that what is really important is to assure value generation at every step of any process.
I believe that it is extremely important to give people well defined responsibilities rather than trying to inject, with superior leadership and excellent communication abilities, high doses of "external" motivation - that cannot get anywhere, just because the very task or the very activity is de-motivating and frustrating in itself.
I believe that accountability for the output of a well defined process gives more job satisfaction and more motivation than a salary increase or a performance bonus.
I believe that people must return down to earth to simple, basic concepts of daily value generation through hard effort and acceptance of challenges.
I believe that brain laziness is a public enemy to be fought very fiercely.
And I believe that people must be responsible for providing their own motivation, their own security, their own quality of life.
 

I believe in Creativity.
I believe that Creativity (and not Products, Services, Finance, Technology, Management abilities.......) is and is going to be the only and real factor of competitiveness in this millennium - because Creativity is the common denominator of all other factors of competitiveness.
I believe that Creativity is essential for the Enterprise aiming at high levels of performance: Creativity is very important in problem solving, in decision-making, in planning, in team-work, in searching and generating opportunities, in continuous improvement practices.......

Creativity is the ultimate secret for achieving high levels of Quality, Productivity and Customers' Satisfaction.
Creativity is the spark that makes the difference between Enterprise's excellence or mediocrity.
I believe in the high power of Creativity channelled to the generation of value by integration-capable minds, and I stress its vital importance in all my consulting and training activities.
 

I believe in People.
And I believe that people are the most important resource of any Enterprise, as people may make the difference between its failure or its success.

I believe that people can improve themselves, their performance and the performance of their Enterprise considerably, and that a chance to generate such improvements must be given to people.

I believe that it is Top Management primary responsibility to create an environment in which people are given the space and the possibility of performing at high levels. I believe this can be obtained by critically (re-)designing processes in which people work, in such a style that people are or become empowered to generate high levels of value through their efforts, their creativity, their commitment, and their thorough understanding of the process/es to which they are assigned and for which they have high levels of responsibility and accountability.
I also believe that responsibility and accountability for a process are major prerequisites for people to obtain high levels of job satisfaction.
I believe that people's work must be integrated and not fragmented, and that specialisation must gradually make space to multi-skill and multi-function situations.
And I believe that only in this way people may re-gain that professional dignity somehow lost in many decades of specialisation and fragmentation.

I believe that work must be a very pleasant experience for all employees: a gymnasium in which people can practise, test and prove themselves, set challenges, improve, excel and be highly satisfied - and I believe that this is easily achievable.
It is my commitment to stress these vital issues in my consulting and training activities, and to convey these priority messages to people in Industry, at all levels.
 

The above is my vision and my operational philosophy.
It is my mission and my thorough commitment to convey its basic principles to Enterprises and people in Enterprises, with the aim to open a door to achieving higher and higher levels of performance.
It is my commitment to do my very best, with honesty and professionalism, to enable Enterprises of small and medium sizes (and as such within my reach and within my own personal capacity and abilities) to understand and make operational the best, up-to-date practices that lead to World Class performance.

Finally, it is my pleasure to commit myself to continuous learning, continuous self-improvement, and wherever necessary, to continuous change - with humility, and with consciousness of my limited knowledge, always insufficient and always perfectible.
Along these lines, it is also my commitment and personal pleasure to get in deep contact with industrial realities of many Countries and of diversified cultures: for continuous personal and professional enrichment - and for the benefit of my Clients, of the Participants in my training courses, and of all the individuals I will have the opportunity and the joy to get in touch with during the course of my life.
 

Carlo Scodanibbio

 
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