I’m posting a quick message about the power of Lean Thinking and how I’m helping a small specialised business going lean in their own processes, automating wherever they can and also aiming to lean an international peak body to improve efficiencies in quality of service. I am unable share any commercial details. That’s business, but I will share some insights with you which I believe are helpful.
It goes like this.... I was consulting with a client recently and we were discussing their proposal that was being presented to an international agency. This proposal if accepted will transform a performance culture, best practice and quality standards internationally. This result will revolutionise a quality control industry and insure its future sustainability.
Without saying too much, leaning the process will essentially transform out-dated existing quality improvement systems. It has taken the new and younger blood to ask questions…. the tough questions of ….“Why do it this way, couldn’t we do it better, here is the alternative, these are the benefits, here is a new process, can we test it?”
The challenge is the proposal has to be accepted by an international committee. I ‘Il keep you posted in the year ahead how we get ahead.
Lean is a key strategy, but don’t be fooled in to using it alone without all your other business processes.
When you Lean one process, it is likely that downstream might need reviewing as well. Lean needs to go enterprise wide for real benefit. I've seen it fail miserably in some departments like healthcare because one department does not lean all areas involved with the client journey. Additionally, not all staff are adequately engaged. Generally governance from the top is simply lacking.
One popular misconception is that lean is suited only for manufacturing. Not true. I’ve seen it used in small business, manufacturing, IT, HR, importing and complex environments like healthcare. I see Lean principles used widely in the biggest retail giant in the world. Just look at E-bay. At E-bay it’s an automated lean machine generating more site searches than Google in 2012.
Lean can be tailored and applied in every business and every process. It even applies in my household. Although the 5S techniques could do with some improving in the kids bedrooms, and okay….the garden shed to. Yes, I’m striving for perfection, it's a continuous improvement journey.
Lean is not a tactic or a cost reduction program, it’s a by-product of changing the business culture of thinking and acting as an entire organization. It has many proven quality improvement processes backing it.
Three takeaways today. Purpose, Process, People
If you are thinking more into Lean Thinking read the authors Womack and Jones, Lean Enterprise, 2nd Edition. It’s a useful book. The authors note that managers and executives that embarked on Lean transformations think about three fundamental business issues that should guide the transformation of the entire organization:
Purpose: What customer problems will the business solve to achieve its own purpose of prospering?
Process: How will the business assess each major value stream to make sure each step is valuable, capable, available, adequate, flexible, and that all the steps are linked by flow, pull, and levelling?
People: How can the business insure that every important process has someone responsible for continually evaluating that value stream in terms of business purpose and lean process? How can everyone engaging with or in lean terms (touching) the value stream be actively engaged in operating it correctly and continually improving it?
Lean needs to be tailored. The best way to experience it is to have a short workshop facilitated in workplace with your work processes. With you we will map your processes, look at bottle necks, queues, delays and so on. Then take it from there.
Mapping the journey or process is amazing. It’s like “Learning to See” how you do things in business. It’s an eye opener and you may go away scratching your head asking, “what the… why do we do that, it doesn’t make sense.” Remember many processes are inherited and never really planned or evaluated. Here is your opportunity to break the cycle. Add value… that’s your job.
We have a team of Lean or what we call Redesign experts who can provide customized training. One on one, or in small groups. Our Lean approach is a systems approach. Lean combined with coaching, facilitation, good team management, business excellence and good governance is required.
Our business is inspiring results in your business.
The approach to Lean is it’s a transformational process. That seems to resonate better with clients. They get it, they know something is going to happen, it has an emotion attached to it and it provides an image of a better future. Feel free to discuss how we can help your organisation big or small. We can all improve.
If nothing changes, then nothing changes.
Inspiring People, Inspiring Business, Inspiring Results
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