Think Lean, Act Lean

Publish on: 19 Nov 2015

Thinking lean
“Lean” is a set of principles and techniques that drive organizations to continually add value to the product they deliver by enhancing process steps that are necessary, relevant, and valuable while eliminating those that fail to add value.

Lean has been closely associated to the manufacturing for decades but since lean can be applied in every business and in every process it is also effective for the service sector.

From Lean Manufacturing to Lean Management

Lean Management or management by solving problems in teams is a model based on continuous learning. This systemic and strategic vision of continuous improvement is defined as an apprenticeship model by questioning, observing, identifying, analyzing and eliminating problems. This implies that this type of management by practice model is based on the ability of operations staff and managers to excel in team work to be able to succeed in the whole process of problem solving.

The different lean tools are proven techniques geared at individual and collective learning. They are learned through experimentation and regular training.

What can lean management do for me?

Lean will improve:
  • Quality performance, fewer defects and rework (in house and at customer’s place)
  • Fewer machine and process breakdowns
  • Lower levels of inventory
  • Greater levels of stock turnover
  • Less space required
  • Higher efficiencies, more output per man hour
  • Improved delivery performance
  • Greater customer satisfaction
  • Improved employee morale and involvement
  • Improved supplier relations

Comparison between companies using Lean management system (in red)
versus companies using traditional management system (in blue).

What are the key elements in implementing Lean Management?
1. Visual control systems - highlighting and sharing shop floor problems with everybody
2. Management routines - helping to decentralize the management, which constitutes mainly of giving autonomy of decisions at workstations and allow quick reactions
3. Problem solving workshops - allowing the company to analyze wastes and launch the continuous improvement
4. Key performance indicators - helping to measure and challenge the improvement speed
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