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Manager's Role in Daily Management


A lot of companies in Lithuania are interested in daily management system. They visit world-class companies to gain experience on the system’s creation. In Lithuania, companies like “Thermo Fisher Scientific” and  “Phillip Morris Lithuania” gladly  share their daily management experience and open their doors to tour groups.

Daily visual accountability, strategic tactics and indicators’ deployed in all levels of the company fascinate the majority of experienced managers. After tours the company’s naturally raise the following questions: 

  • We have to do it, but we do not know how to start our daily management system?
  • What are the obstacles that we will have to overcome during the first year of daily management?
  • What kind of homework do we have to do before it?
Each company’s manager wants to start well-prepared daily management practice. However in cases when people’s discipline is not sustainable, more expenses and energy will be needed to spark it again.
Company manager needs space to prepare himself and his team to hear, accept and manage the voice of process which will come from visual daily management.

Every tool was created to solve a specific problem. Thus firstly, you have to ask yourself these 3 basic questions:

1. Do I have the same problem in my company?

2. What factors tell that we have the same problem?

3. Why do I think that elsewhere applied tools will help us solve our problems?


Why did you decide to create daily management discipline?
When in 2013 I came back to the Lithuanian factory from the Netherlands, my team and I revised the OPEN performance improvement initiatives that were created from 2009. Within the period of four years we installed and visualised a lot of LEAN tools in the production process.

However, in 2013 we noticed that although the initiatives were very good, but created separately they were left to “survive for themselves”, since they were not integrated into daily activities. Thus, a lot of positive things, including some of the good practices, were lost.

Then it became clear that the decision to become a LEAN organisation was a one-way ticket. If you decide to buy it, you have to be prepared to constantly improve your performance and do not stop. There is no going back.

Where would you recommend the manager to start daily management?
LEAN is a holistic management system that requires a manager’s and employee’s discipline to create a value for a customer. In the beginning it is very important to create a strategic clarity in the organisation. First of all, the team of managers has to realise the direction that the company is taking and why the processes are performed. During the strategic sessions, the managers choose and prioritise the strategic tactics, accountabilities and agree on performance indicators that are the most important in the company’s activities and which will be used to measure the implementation process. Although such decision-making takes a lot of time, it is an investment into a unified approach. The managers need to convey the strategic clarity to all the organisation. I can help and support them only by setting an example, providing motivation and  giving feedback.
The more prepared they are to answer questions like “why our company has to take this direction?” and “what benefits can be gained from it?”, the faster and more sincerely the company’s strategy can be reached.
When the strategic clarity was visualised and discussed in the organisation, we started the creation of “Philip Morris Lithuania” performance system (integrated production management system), where daily management is one of the main (fundamental) elements. The creation of system included not only the production department, but also the supporting processes and departments.

What obstacles did you have to overcome within the first year of daily management practice?
The first obstacle was to maintain the discipline of morning meetings in all organisational levels. At first, some of the departments or shifts failed to follow the timetable on the daily basis.
We created a meeting supervision timetable according to which twice a week every manager supervises lower-level meeting and gives the manager his feedback as well as hosts a coaching conversation. Meeting GEMBA not only helped to create some discipline, but also allowed everyone to see one’s habits that need to be changed or improved. This practice has also helped in creating discipline as well as becoming each other’s teachers and helpers.
The second obstacle was the search for process indicators in functional department and value chain. When we started going to meeting GEMBA, we noticed that a lot of indicators did not lead to actions. The performed actions were oriented to past problems and not to the today’s activities that need to be performed in order to reach the goal of the day. We practice the performance improvement and Kata coaching methods which allow us to search for valuable indicators that would provide goal-oriented and fast PDCA actions“.

How do you support your managers?
Every morning I supervise a meeting and give managers my feedback. Later on I host a 4th high-level meeting (for company’s department manager teams). After lunch I go to GEMBA and help the teams, revise their activities, performed works and reached results as well as discuss future plans and specific immediate steps, look into the difficulties and help to reach decisions by motivating them to act, take risks and learn new things that would help to achieve better work results. This time is also a great opportunity to thank people for the performed work, learn new things and get involved into company’s performance improvement.
Without visiting GEMBA I would not know the current situation at the factory. The figures on the computer do not always reflect reality. At GEMBA I observe the things that I should be thankful for, motivation and help that is needed.
LEAN education is our top priority. Together with outside consultants and performance development department we organise various sessions and camps. At least once a month I meet performance system module managers to discuss the introduction process.
We also send our managers to LEAN conferences, various trainings and other companies to find out about their experiences. Approximately 100 employees are active participants in PML performance system module works, the same amount of employees participated in “Kaizen”,  SMED, 5S, 5 Whys sessions and “Purposeful Improvement” groups.

What is a manager’s role in daily management system?
To be a coach who is close to people. To support the team on specific actions, i.e., to do the same thing that you are asking from others. Your discipline should be an example to others, you have to acknowledge your mistakes, take and provide feedback on time.



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