Lean implementation is a method by which, amongst other things, the values that are important for your customers and clients can be determined, as well as how your business processes can run as smoothly as possible. With the use of lean implementation, ‘bottlenecks’ that may be obstructing processes can be revealed and ways are found to continuously improve matters which, to a lesser extent, creates more value for customers and clients.
What is needed for lean implementation?
Several things are needed for lean implementation. For example, this method requires a bottom-up approach, in which all of the employees are empowered and engaged. Also, new ways of managing are important. This on its own can be a challenge for many organizations. Nonetheless, such changes are required when you are striving for the continuous improvement of your company.
What happens with the lean method
What is the lean method? With the lean method you create a business culture in which continuous improvement is the key. This continuous improvement is made possible by a high level of employee engagement. In turn, because of the high level of engagement, employees throughout the entire company strive to increase the value for customers, while any waste of time and goods is minimalized.
The importance of insights from the working floor
How is this process achieved? By a bottoms-up approach, in which the supervisors play a crucial role. Managers in ‘lean organizations’ actually fulfil the role of a facilitator, where the employees can contribute to the learning process significantly. The managers facilitate this by offering clear directions and open communication. Meanwhile, each employee is encouraged to offer opinions about the processes: after all, they are the people who actually do the work, and know the products or services inside out. Their insights are needed in order to continuously improve products and services.
The key principles in the lean method are:
- Value: the methods that create value for the customer are determined.
- Value stream: waste in the process of value creation is avoided by eliminating wasteful activities.
- Flow: a quick and fluent process is provided.
- According to needs: all activities and processes engaged in by the employees are needed to meet the needs of the clients.
- Continuous improvement: a culture is created that contributes to continuous improvement and a system is invented and followed for this culture.
Lean implementation starts with effective HR management
An organization with continuously improving processes, activities and products/services starts with an effective HR management. It is essential that the HR managers understand what ‘lean’ means, and are able to communicate this to all other managers within the company. Together, they need to create a lean organization in which a lean culture is prevalent. Employees are involved with improving the processes, and in this way all other business activities be continuously improved as effectively as possible.