Lean | An introduction…
Lean – is the elimination of waste and focuses on delivering activities which add value from a customer’s perspective. It is based on the following set of principles:
- Identify Value
- Current Condition
- Create Flow
- Introduce Pull
- Continuously Improve
These are often supported by a set of Lean Ways of Working (WoW) and / or a set of Lean ‘Lenses’, to enhance application. This is because Lean is heavily based on significant staff engagement. These additions therefore help to change the mindset of an organisation.
These principles (ways of working) and ‘lenses’ are then supported by a range of improvement tools and techniques. There is significant cross-over with the tools and techniques deployed with other improvement approaches such as Six-sigma, Business Process Re-engineering and Total Quality Management.
Lean is best deployed in the following situations:
- Where there is a commitment to strong staff engagement to drive sustainable business improvement
- Where ‘low hanging fruit’ exists and fast results are required (often organisations and teams can say all the low hanging fruit has been taken but in our experience this is rarely the case)
- Operations with a large number of front line staff working on similar activities
- Limited performance data
Lean deployed in the right way is a great method all organisations should deploy, irrelevant of type, industry or size. After all, who can argue with wanting to continuously improve and deliver value for the customer whilst eliminating unnecessary waste?
Lean | History…
Lean is often said to have started with the Toyota Production System (TPS) with the term itself only truly named in 1990. However, the origin of some of the Lean principles can be traced back much further:
Introduction of a production line to improve the output of ships from <1 per month to 1 per day
Fred Winslow Taylor
Standard work introduced for improvements in quality and efficiency
Henry Ford & TPS as an Infant
Henry Ford introduced production cycles, an integrated supply chain and worked on eliminating waste.
A little later the Toyota Production System started in a simplistic form
Second World War
During this period a conscious effort was made to improve the productivity within American factories supporting the war efforts through structured training.
Toyota Production System
From this period on-wards the Toyota Production System (TPS) is developed and is accredited with improving the fortunes of Toyota and TPS is implemented overseas.
Lean term coined
Lean as a management philosophy derived mostly from the TPS Identified as “Lean” only in the 1990s
Lean principles are applied across a wider range of industries and it begins to make its way into the Service Sector for Finance and Insurance.
A few years later Lean begins to emerge in additional sectors such as Healthcare, Public Sector and Retail.
What are the 8 wastes?
D – Defect
O – Overproduction
W – Waiting
N – Non-Utilised Talent
T – Transprotation
I – Inventory
M – Motion
E – Extra Processing
What does VSM stand for?
What are the 'Voices' which Lean Six-Sigma projects listen to?
- Voice of the Customer (VoC) central to building processes around the needs of customers
- Voice of the Business (VoB) ensuring business requirements are adhered to; commonly but not exclusive to financials
- Voice of the Employee (VoE) ensuring employees benefit also from project changes
- Voice of the Process (VoP) this is the performance of the process over time
A project may be defined as a win-win-win when the Customer, Business and Employee all benefits from its delivery.
Why Process Map?
In addition it makes it easier to ensure all parts have been accurately captured
- It also allows people to quickly understand where waste exists in the process and where the process has gaps
- It gives the team a basis for representing their improvement ideas
Being laid out visually allows the team to move things around and more easily ask difficult or challenging ‘what if’ questions to the process.
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