Using Control Points to Manage in Lean – Flinchbaugh

This is a transcription of a Business901 Podcast, Can Control Points add Value in Lean? with Jamie Flinchbaugh of the Lean Learning Center.

Flinchbaugh says,

Ever have the strange feeling that something big is wrong, but you don’t know what it is? This common disease is hereditary in one species: the manager. Most managers spend too much time firefighting. One of their biggest fears is that there may be larger fires they don’t know about.

Different managers deal with it in different ways. Some use “management by walking around” to look for signs that something isn’t right. Others insist on knowing every detail instantly. If they know everything, then there can be no hidden problems.

Managing by control points is the only cure. Control points are the variables that indicate what is really going on in the organization.

Control Points with Flinchbaugh

Jamie goes on to say,

Start the process of managing control points by identifying the points you already have. There are two dimensions to consider. First, determine how proactively you can manage the control point. Can you be predictive or just reactive? Next, determine if the control point can be managed manually or automatically. If a person is needed to find a problem, it’s a manual control point. If the problem puts its hand in the air and says, “Here I am,” it can be managed automatically.

Jamie is the co-author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Lean: Lessons from the Road and co-founder and partner of the Lean Learning Center. The blog is a frequent stop of mine and many other lean practitioners.

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