If sustainability and long-term growth are your targets, then your organization will need to adopt and implement lean culture. Lean culture will affect your organization as a whole, by having documented, efficient and effective processes, so that they strategically add value to your organization in terms of overall performance.
Lean principles will enable you to start identifying and eliminating waste in your organization (excess inventory, unnecessary steps, complex processes, rework, defects, etc). As a result, you will be able to build a culture of continuous improvement.
By implementing Lean Six Sigma and business process management concepts and training in your organization, you will benefit from a streamlined organization in terms of people, processes, technology and the underlying strategy and objectives. Leading companies as Xerox, Caterpillar, BMW, GE, HP, Citigroup, American Express, DHL have already engaged in implementing lean culture and training.
The Principles of Lean Thinking
- Identify Customers and Specify Value – The starting point is to recognize that only a small fraction of the total time and effort in any organization actually adds value for the end customer. By clearly defining Value for a specific product or service from the end customer’s perspective, all the non value activities – or waste – can be targeted for removal.
- Identify and Map the Value Stream – The Value Stream is the entire set of activities across all parts of the organization involved in jointly delivering the product or service. This represents the end-to-end process that delivers the value to the customer. Once you understand what your customer wants the next step is to identify how you are delivering (or not) that to them.
- Create Flow by Eliminating Waste – Typically when you first map the Value Stream you will find that only 5% of activities add value, this can rise to 45% in a service environment. Eliminating this waste ensures that your product or service “flows” to the customer without any interruption, detour or waiting.
- Respond to Customer Pull – This is about understanding the customer demand on your service and then creating your process to respond to this. Such that you produce only what the customer wants when the customer wants it.
- Pursue Perfection – Creating flow and pull starts with radically reorganizing individual process steps, but the gains become truly significant as all the steps link together. As this happens more and more layers of waste become visible and the process continues towards the theoretical end point of perfection, where every asset and every action adds value for the end customer.