Lean is about continuous improvements at all levels in the organisation to achieve and maintain a competitive position.
This is achieved when all employees are given the knowledge, skills and authority to eliminate or minimise activities and processes which add no customer value but which drain essential cash from the business.
Lean principals were first developed for manufacturing operations and are still widely used there. They are also now introduced and implemented across all other levels and aspects of a business, with huge success.
In fact, when Lean is mistakenly confined to manufacturing operations it has limited benefits. The basic principal is to learn and use the tools and techniques of Lean to identify waste anywhere in the business process. Waste can be defined as any activity which is not essential in adding a value that the customer is happy to pay for.
How much time, effort and cost are tied up in activities which add no value to your product or service? This is waste for which you are paying.
Some general examples of waste:
- Checking and re-doing work – “get it right first time”.
- Waste of materials or time.
- Correcting the work of others.
- Waiting for materials or information.
- Searching for materials or documents.
- Long change-over times
- Producing products or services which cannot be invoiced now.
- Producing reports and documents which are not read or acted on.
- Making the wrong product or document.
- Unnecessary movement of goods or people.
- Incorrect delivery or invoice information which delays payment.
- The list goes on and one ..
Real and substantial benefits can be achieved in introducing Lean to your company and gaining a trained and motivated workforce in continuous improvement as a way of life.
Overall cost reductions of 50% are being achieved by our client companies on a Lean journey.
Introducing Lean across your business:
Many companies who are unsure of the implications of Lean begin with a starter programme.
This is a short programme, usually 7 days spread over 7 to 8 weeks, which will give a short and much focused training for a small group of key staff and includes facilitated implementation of an improvement project. Staff will see the benefits and be equipped to engage in further continuous projects.
Others take the plunge and embark on a wider scale training and implementation from the outset.
John is part of the Beacon Initiative, Grow Programme Virtual Management Team, which can assist qualifying SME’s to grow through the provision of management expertise that may not be accessible to them currently