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Examine the expectations and inferences underlying selected job positions. Consider timely topics in career preparation and the struggle for fulfilling employment. Analyze what could be improved in either situation. If this blog reminds you too much of work, then peruse my namesake blog for lighter fare.

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Existence of "EcoLab" Evangelist for "Lean Management" is Decidedly Not Lean^iCQmYAj7adgdZfloWGVxE2iIw0Uil02jfZSfeU3aLJ1p2qcpbSwwTQ==&jobId=1221537&type=search&JobReqLang=1&recordstart=1&JobSiteId=91&JobSiteInfo=1221537_91&GQId=0

"Job Title: Lean Manager

Functional Area: Lean Six Sigma

Division: Lean Six Sigma

Location: California - City of Industry

Country: United States

Employment Status: Full Time

Job Description: The Lean Manager will be a change agent and thrives on challenge as s/he leads one or more locations within the NA Supply Chain in the integration of Lean into the knowledge and daily activities of all site employees. The Lean Manager will work in this highly visible role to develop and implement continuous improvement actions to achieve breakthrough results in key performance indicators, including measurable improvements in safety, quality, productivity, service, cost, cycle time and employee development.

Main Responsibilities:

·The primary responsibility of the Lean Manager is to ensure a consistent, rapid and successful deployment of Lean.

·Train site leadership and other key personnel on Lean concepts in concert with the Global Supply Chain Lean deployment strategy.

·Work with site leaders to conduct assessments of critical site and business needs.

·Lead across the organization and influence others outside of the his/her location

·Develop a thorough, effective, and timely continuous improvement plan to address the top business needs at the site.

·Lead kaizen events, Six Sigma projects and other activities that execute on the site improvement plan.

·Provide regular reports of data and actions to measure progress against the site objectives.

·Remove barriers to deployment of the continuous improvement plan.

·Work with site leadership to update and re-prioritize the plan to maintain focus on the most critical site objectives.

·Coach and mentor others on Lean so it becomes engrained in the site culture.

·Develop shop floor experts capable of driving Lean in their areas.

·Maintain a detailed understanding of Lean best practices, implement them at the site, and share best practices and knowledge with others.

Basic Qualifications:

·Bachelor’s degree in Engineering, Logistics, Science or Business.

·6+ years of experience in a manufacturing, supply chain environment

·3+ years experience working in a Lean environment

·2+ years of experience in a Lean leadership role.

·2+ years supervisory experience and strong interpersonal skills with the ability to influence & persuade decision makers and motivate team members

·2+ years experience utilizing the following key principles and methods of lean: 5S, value stream mapping, visual management and Kaizen

Sponsorship is not offered for this position.

Preferred Qualifications:

·Lean Six Sigma Black Belt certification & success in leading complex manufacturing black belt projects, employing key principles and methods including measurement systems analysis, cause-and-effect, FMEA, DOE, SPC, process capability analysis and control plans.

·Comfortable with rapid change, able to recognize others' resistance to change, and lead individuals and teams through the change process.

·A 'hands-on' operating style and a tenacity to build support for change.

·Must be self-motivated, have a bias for action, a sense of urgency, and quickly take personal responsibility to drive improvements.

·Formal project management training with strong analytical skills, high potential to assume management responsibilities. Verbal and written communication skills needed to train and coach."

To its credit, EcoLab has produced much better job vacancies more clearly matching concrete KSAs to specific job functions as well as reducing the hype in the portion of the ads dedicated to the company description. Rather than speak broadly of leadership aptitude, EcoLab has honed in on the capacity to harmonize with others attracted to your department’s line of work and to basically stay off the toes of other departments. Here are some great examples:

District Manager:^iCQmYAj7adgdZfloWGVxE2iIw0Uil02jfZSfeU3aLJ1p2qcpbSwwTQ==&jobId=1200258&type=search&JobReqLang=1&recordstart=1&JobSiteId=91&JobSiteInfo=1200258_91&GQId=0

Service Technician:^iCQmYAj7adgdZfloWGVxE2iIw0Uil02jfZSfeU3aLJ1p2qcpbSwwTQ==&jobId=1203738&type=search&JobReqLang=1&recordstart=1&JobSiteId=91&JobSiteInfo=1203738_91&GQId=0

With that considered, I still find the whole idea of job titles dedicated to change management to be goofy because why would anyone need a full-time position, let alone an entire division, to nag other employees into changing how they work? Isn’t this why organizations hire project managers and business consultants? Are employers really so afraid of a hostile work environment or wrongful termination lawsuit that they hire a team of “change agents” (essentially full-time business consultants) to lobby managers to adjust to the Policy of the Week rather than outright threaten to fire those recalcitrant managers for insubordination?

I do find it odd that while the “Basic Qualifications” require “strong interpersonal skills with the ability to influence & persuade,” the “Preferred Qualifications” require mere “verbal and written communication skills needed to train and coach.” Perhaps those lines were transposed? That’s a minor quibble compared to the overtones of brainwashing evinced by the job duty, “Coach and mentor others on Lean so that it becomes engrained in the site culture.” Knowing how to do this is crucial because EcoLab wouldn’t want the lean manager to use hokey lines such as, “Did you eat your Leanies today?” or, “If you don’t do Lean, then you are not Keen!”

The requirement of “strong analytical skills” and the duty to “develop shop floor experts capable of driving Lean in their areas” colors the position as a hybrid of operations analyst and human resources specialist. I suppose the potential to be promoted to shift lead might motivate some shop floor workers to vocalize their support for the Cult of Lean in hopes of being tagged as a “lean driver.” I just think that promoting change for its own sake is sometimes counterproductive because everyone is always adjusting. Standard operating procedures become that way because they are effective. Perpetually pushing change onto employees weakens standards and makes results less predictable.

Notice how the lean manager is responsible for encouraging other managers to retrain their subordinates but is not responsible for identifying whether his/her own position has become redundant? What about statistical findings that a proposed change would produce savings smaller than the cost of implementation? This reminds me of how academic journals tend to publish only those studies demonstrating a statistically significant difference between or among variable conditions. Many types of change are irrelevant to outcomes in a given situation, but neither lean managers nor academic journal publishers want to bring attention to this fact. Change-centric or “dynamic” organizations acknowledge the status quo as more efficient than a proposed change as much as universities report the percentages of their respective recent college graduates who are in poverty and underemployed.

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