Want to optimise your organisation’s efficiency by reducing waste and creating greater customer value? If so, you should probably learn about lean management, a way to organise and manage work based on principles learned from Toyota’s production systems. The concept of lean management is also discussed in the article, including what it is about, how it works, as well as its advantages. Besides, we will give you a few recommendations on using lean management in your work.
What is Lean Management?
A lean approach to managing is about eradicating all those activities that aren’t value-added, improving only those activities with added value when undertaking any process. The main objective of lean management is to produce maximum value for the customers while minimising costs and delivery time.
To begin with, lean management evolved out of the TPS, which originated in Japan under the leadership of two leaders, Eiji Toyoda and Taiichi Ohno, during the 1950’s. The TPS refers to the set of principles or techniques and methods aimed at minimising wastage, improving quality as well and increasing the efficiency of operations within the manufacturing industry. This is also called the Just-in-Time system, where only products required at a specific time and in the exact quantity are produced.
What are the Lean Management Principles?
Lean management is based on four core principles, which are:
- Identify value: Customers value what they can afford; that’s their value. Value can be a product, a service, or a result beyond the customer’s requirement. The value should be known by understanding customers’ needs, wants and ways of satisfying them.
- Map the value stream: Actions taken in creating and delivering value to the customer are called value streams. This consists of both value-added activities and non-value-added activities. The first thing you will do is map out a value stream on all the activities that involve getting raw material till delivering a finished product or service.
- Create flow: Flow here means the effortless flowing of value upstream in the value chain. It is applied to remove wastes, including waiting, overproduction, inventory, defects, and rework. The flow requires a reduction of the barriers and bottlenecks, which are the impediments that obstruct the flow process and make it less efficient, leading to alignment and synchronisation of every step towards catering to customers’ needs.
- Implement pull: The pull principle is the production of what should be produced at the time when it should be produced and not exceeding what should be produced. Pull eliminates waste, which includes overproduction, inventory, and obsolete products. To do this, pull involves creating a signalling mechanism that senses customers’ demand through upstream processes before producing and delivering the value.
What are the Lean Management Tools?
Several tools can contribute toward sustaining lean management and achieving the objective of providing value delivery to customers. Some of the most common and useful lean management system are:
- ProHance: It enables robust real-time analytics for the workforce optimisation process. Using data and analytics is key in making smart decisions by leaders when dealing with a dispersed/hybrid workforce in ProHance. ProHance also provides an overall picture of the operations and locates potential areas for collaborations and possible optimisations to foster operational resiliency and smooth-running delivery of results within an enterprise.
- The 5S method: It helps create order in the workplace, thus reducing time wastage. 5S is Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardise and Sustain. The 5S includes eliminating non-essential tools, placing all essential items in order, keeping the workplace clean, enforcing standardisation, and verifying the findings.
- The Kanban system: It is an important tool for the management of inventory and production. Kanban is a derived word from a Japanese term for visual signal. The Kanban system utilises cards, boards, and other visual means to illustrate item availability for replenishment or product replacement.
What are the Benefits of Lean Management?
Benefits of Lean Management for both the company and the customer, such as:
- Reducing costs: Through lean management, there is an opportunity to lower production expenses, as well as inventories, transport costs, and defects and rework all in a rapid way without being hindered by any unproductive tasks.
- Increasing productivity: Lean management makes the processes lean by creating flow in the usage of time, labour, materials and equipment as resources to achieve maximum productivity and minimal wastage.
- Enhancing customer satisfaction: The role of lean management in ensuring the best quality products and services for customers in the least possible time at competitive costs.
- Improving employee engagement: Lean management increases employee engagement by involving them in improvement activities, giving them decision-making authority and showing appreciation for their input. Know more about A Definitive Guide to Lean Management
How to Apply Lean Management to Your Tasks and Projects?
If you want to apply lean management to your tasks and projects, you can follow these steps:
- Define your goal: What is the main aim and reason for you having your task or project? What kind of value do you want to give to your customer or your public?
- Identify your customer: What kind of clients are you dealing with? What do they require or want? How do they measure value?
- Map your process: How do you move through your task or project? What is your procedure for carrying out each step? For how long does it take one step? What is the total cost of each step? How do you measure quality?
- Identify waste: What streams of waste and wastes do you have in your process? Why does waste take place, and what is waste? What can you do to reduce or eradicate waste?
- Implement changes: What do you suggest should be done to bring your process up to date? What will be your strategy for testing and evaluation of the proposed project changes? What would be your means of assessment and evaluation?
- Seek feedback: How do you intend to get a response from your customer or stakeholder? How do we develop based on it? How will you share the information and findings, though?
- Repeat: How have you planned to maintain these and ensure they are uniform? What strategy will you use to develop a list of identified areas of improvement that are yet to be explored? What will be your next plan for learning?
Lean management is a way through which one can make their tasks simpler and attain high performance. The incorporation of lean principles is highly vital in waste minimisation, the creation of value, and boosting performance. Similarly, having lean management will allow you to incur lower operational and administrative costs while at the same time making your staff happy due to their increased efficiency and, hence, productivity.
On this note, using ProHance as a cloud-based solution can assist one to simplify their daily tasks and project activities. For this reason, ProHance allows you to manage both distributed and hybrid workforces by measuring and removing wastage, improving value and enhancing the quality of all services delivered. ProHance enables you to connect with your staff, enhance employee health, and promote an environment of perennial progression and innovation. ProHance is a generic tool used in any industry or function for operating excellence and customer satisfaction.