I was stunned when after a full day of our wonderful trainer, Rich Carey, teaching us about the value of using the Japanese terms for helping teams grasp lean tools -- the founder of Definity Partners (and Definity University), Ray Attiyah, said, "better not for coffee." Ray Attiyah is the author of the book Run, Improve, Grow and a self-proclaimed serial entrepreneur. I just know him as the brilliant person who has built a business helping manufacturers embrace lean culture, not just get a certificate. So when he said, "don't use the Japanese and lean terms like "Kaizen" and "Value Stream Mapping" he caught me off guard. "Instead, remind them what their pain is," he continued. "Why will lean help them?"
Ahhh... now I could understand. Talking about solutions that sound foreign will not help companies get comfortable with what you're offering. Talking about problems that are urgent -- like"declining productivity for the crop that earns 80% of your foreign exchange", or "potato taste defect that means you have to reject 20 containers a year." Those are good conversation-starters in the coffee world if we want to also talk about how to "achieve customer satisfaction through the most efficient use of resources." (The latter happens to be one of the definitions of lean I learned today.) As we learned at the beginning of the "day 1" class today -- "you have to remember the why -- why are we doing this?" Continue reading