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Effective learning objectives for any endeavor start with a clear understanding of your goals. Whether your organization is launching a new product, restructuring an existing operational system or making other improvements, before taking that first step you need to know where you’re going, how you plan to get there and what your destination will look like. In last month’s article about learning objectives, we pointed out that Lean Learning ’s Transformational Road Map is one of the best tools for answering those questions and mapping your journey.

Following Lean Principle Number 1, first you will directly observe your work as activities, connections, and flows. Let’s say you own a company that manufactures security systems and you are considering an upgrade to one of your product lines. At the outset, you will want to study the upgraded blueprint prototypes and create a computer simulation of a live demonstration. Have a clear picture in your mind of every step involved from the time a customer purchases the system until it is completely installed and they press the operating button. How does this upgraded product line differ from the current one? What adjustments will need to be made to accommodate modified engineering?

Your learning objectives will now focus on cost effectiveness, or Lean Principle Number 2: “Practice systemic waste elimination.” To compensate for additional manufacturing costs, will you be able to sufficiently increase the retail price and stay within the price marks of your competitors? Can you maintain your former profit margin? Are there more efficient ways to cut down on projected manufacturing costs? More research may be necessary.

Included in your discussion of “waste” will be the added value of greater protection against theft, damaged property, computer hacks, etc. If the upgraded system gives the customer a more sophisticated level of security, then the higher price will be perceived as potential savings. Your learning objective will also require in-depth research of actual examples of break-ins, privacy invasion, etc., that ended up costing companies thousands of dollars. This will be valuable information for your marketing and sales teams. They can now develop a skillful presentation that will illustrate losses that could be potentially devastating.

Your company’s team of engineers will already be working out the schematics for Lean Principle Number 3 – the “high degree of what and how.” With the rest of the manufacturing crew, they will be charting systemic problem solving, or Lean Principle Number 4. This information will also be important to your sales team, since they are the employees who have direct contact with customers.

Finally, the learning objectives are secured by Lean Principle Number 5 – “Create a learning organization.” The learning leader will compile the various elements involved in implementing the upgraded security system and then help draft updated manufacturing, operational and sales manuals. After the company successfully builds and markets the new security system, the learning leader will continue to hold refresher workshops, share information about potential improvements, and regularly upgrade each of the manuals. Kaizen or constant improvement is the final requirement for all learning objectives.

About Lean Learning Center

The Lean Learning Center was founded in 2001 to address the gaps and barriers that are holding back companies from successful and sustainable lean transformation. In addition to the advanced curriculum, the Center has developed a learning environment designed specifically for adult learning utilizing techniques that include discovery simulations, case studies, personal planning, and reflection – ultimately engaging people at a deep and personal level. We bring our unique lean understanding in creative ways to executives, managers, supervisors, change agents and front-line employees.

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