1. Knowledge of Work. A lean supervisor should know how all of the processes and all of the work in the area where he has responsibility — inside and out and backward and forward, “All of the elements in the work should be known by the lean supervisor.”
2. Knowledge of Job Responsibilities. The lean supervisor should understand, from a management perspective, what is expected of the role. He should know the company policies, work rules, union contracts if applicable. The supervisor should be skilled in what he needs to deliver from a management perspective.
3. Ability to Kaizen: The lean supervisor should have a “good foundation” of basic kaizen skills, including such tools as 5S, practical problem-solving, PDCA. “Those should all be comfortable skills within a lean supervisor,” Wroblewski says.
4. Ability to Lead: The Kaizen Institute USA director points out the importance of this role: “[The associates’] first leader, their front-line leadership staff, is the key person who sets the culture of the company expectations.”
5. Ability to Teach: This is possibly the most under-appreciated skill of a lean supervisor in most manufacturing companies that customer visits, he says. They are expected to enforce; better is the ability to teach.