Dominic Maas, a manager at a logistics service provider, signed up for Nyenrode Business University's Lean Leadership Program because he and his client wanted to understand waste in the process. But it was ultimately the method of strategy deployment that impressed him most.
"I am now more successful in translating strategic goals to the workplace."
As logistics manager at the international company ID Logistics, Dominic Maas is responsible for all logistics of one of the largest retailers in the Netherlands in the field of consumer electronics and is in direct contact with the customer. "In Etten-Leur, we have a large warehouse of 70,000 square meters. From here we process online orders from individuals and supply all of our customer's stores in the Netherlands," explained Maas.
The lean leadership program
Concrete reason for enrolling in the Lean Leadership Program was that Maas wanted to work with the client to set up a value stream map, a method for understanding waste in a process. "I wanted to refresh my knowledge and that's how I ended up with this program. When I wanted to enroll, I was told that value stream mapping is a small part of the program. But the program also has a lot of other interesting components such as Lean Operational Management, stabilizing and standardizing Lean Leadership and developing and motivating people according to the Lean methodology. That's why I decided to apply anyway." Maas certainly doesn't regret that. "I got a lot of new energy from it. During the program, the trainer outlines situations that really capture the imagination. One example is the waiting room of a doctor's office. We had to accompany patients in game form from the moment they report to the front desk. Think about the registration, the doctor's appointment, a lab test, discussing the results et cetera. When we started this, of course, things went horribly wrong. The waiting room was completely full and no one was sitting with the doctor. Then we started looking at how we could optimize the process and help more patients in one day. Practicing with situations like this forced me to look at my own organization with a helicopter view and step out of the delusion of the day. I found that very refreshing."
Lean Strategy deploment in the logistics industry
"What impressed me the most was strategy deployment, a method for implementing strategy at the tactical and operational levels," says Maas. Within my organization, objectives are formulated at the corporate level that need to be translated into practical objectives for the shop floor. I was already trying to make that translation, but during the program I was given additional tools to do so. ID Logistics, for example, has several objectives in the field of sustainability, but to the average employee this doesn't mean much. I am now thinking about concrete actions so that employees know on an individual level what contribution they can make to the corporate goals. Since following the program, I have also started to do more with images instead of text. Our employees include many people of different nationalities who do not all have a good command of Dutch or English. This way we are more successful in reaching these colleagues properly."
Lean Is not an end but a means to achieve goals
"Lean is an evolving method," Maas believes. "Therefore, I do not see Lean as an end, but as a means to achieve goals. I also do not believe that you can use all the techniques of Lean in every company, but that you have to pick out what is relevant to your own organization." The Lean Leadership Program is an interactive program and Maas liked it.
"The trainer was very enthusiastic and engaging and during the break-out sessions there was plenty of opportunity to engage with other participants and learn from each other. I really went back to work with fresh courage and a lot of new ideas."
Lean is a way of working that focuses on creating added value for the customer and eliminating activities that add little or no value. In the Lean Leadership Program, executives learn in two days which Lean methods and techniques they can use from their role to address various issues within the organization.