Lean in business, is a philosophy for operations and processes that focuses on reducing nonvalue added activities to gain speed. It includes a collection of “best practice” derived tools and techniques that expose, diagnose and optimize human resources, assets, and productivity, while improving the quality level of products and services to customers. Today’s Lean has evolved from the Toyota Production System, originally called “just in time” where main objectives were to design out overburden (muri) and inconsistency (mura), and to eliminate waste (muda).
While businesses, markets, products and services vary greatly, Lean recognizes eight types of waste that are common to most:
- Extra motion
- Unnecessary Work Content
- Product Travel
- Underutilized people
These eight wastes are not glaring. They can be small and hide as minor annoyances, but day in and day out, their negative impact accumulates. What is great about Lean tools and techniques is that the tools that help you to expose and diagnose problems also help facilitate the solutions and then serve as highly visual aids for communicating the issues and their resolution to others.
While Lean’s origins were in manufacturing, Lean today is embraced by Healthcare, Banking, Insurance and numerous other service based companies. Anywhere there are processes, Lean philosophies, tools and techniques can help them to run faster and more efficient.
Don’t confuse faster with reduced quality. Lean processes focus on reducing wasted effort in non-value added activities so more effort can be put into “value added” activities that drive better quality for customers.
Toyota has been working at Lean since the early 1900’s and they are still making improvements. How are your processes? Could your company benefit from Lean?
MEA’s Lean & Six Sigma Partner Supply Velocity will be facilitating a new, 3-day Lean Operations Champion Training beginning May 18, 2017.
About the Author
Ray Davis brings over 35 years of executive, sales and marketing experience to Supply Velocity where he serves as Managing Partner. A serial entrepreneur, Ray has led three startups and he currently leads Floating Wetland Solutions, an environmental company with proprietary water quality technology. Among his other assignments, Ray served as Vice President Sales and Marketing for Nomaco, VP Services Division for Fire Suppression Systems, Regional VP for Productivity Point International, and Executive VP for Compu Ed 2000. After graduating college Ray started his career with DuPont where he picked up his initial Facilitator, Quality, Lean and Six Sigma training.