Why Irish Medical and Pharmaceutical Companies Must Understand the Five Principles of Lean

Ireland punches far above its weight in the manufacture of medical devices, medical equipment, and medicines. A few are trailblazers both here and worldwide. They have co-created models of Operational Excellence through the Irish Medtech Association and some have challenged and attained Shingo prizes for Operational Excellence.     

The Shingo model is an incredible tool to assist in getting the basics of operational excellence in place and has served these organisations very well. At LBS Partners, we are great supporters of this approach. However, there are aspects of Operational Excellence that cannot be taught. They must be coached – they must be practiced. 

For organisations who wish to be truly excellent for their customers, both now and long into the future, they need to understand the five dimensions of excellent organisations and live them every day.

First, Leaders must ensure that every member of their organisation feels connected to the purpose as they go about their daily business.

Then, they must ensure that every person is engaged and encouraged to develop in all aspects of their work. A leader must understand the core workings of the enterprise and work hard to ensure that it is easy for every person to understand the products, process and services; and more importantly understand how they are doing, in their individual work, in their department, in their division and for their customers.

The third ingredient is transparency which takes courage and humility. Great leaders understand what makes people feel good about themselves. They insist on environments that encourage teamwork, collaboration and performance. 

Fourth, they ensure people get recognised for their efforts and commitment; not always focussing on outcomes. They know outcomes are the result of high-quality effort.

Finally, and most importantly of all, these leaders show great example. They have the courage and humility of demonstrate the right thing in everything they do. They are always on. You do not need to be a Gandhi or a John F Kennedy to lead a great organisation. But you do need to truly understand these five dimensions, and you need to ensure that everybody in your organisation understands the role they must play for the organisation to win.

“We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.”


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