Do You Already Have A Lean Mindset?

Photo at blog from webmaster - 21/09/2010 - 13:01

I thought I had one! After writing blogs like Quality Is King (The Theory), Quality Is King (The Pizza Restaurant Example), and Reduce Complexity and Rise Your EBIT! I thought I was definitely on the right way. However, AT Kearney recently brought the Toyota case to my attention.

Toyota has enforced a continuous attention for improvement of cost, quality, and service. This has resulted in becoming the largest automobile manufacturer. Many companies and organizations have adopted since then the lean mindset. At least they tried: They used tools like 5S, the shadow board, and the Kaizen workshop. Others have enforced a Six Sigma process to be used for everything. Unfortunately, many did not succeed. They found out the hard way that adopting tools is unequal to adopting a mindset. Thus the question is: What is needed to realize this lean mind-shift.

According to AT Kearney this takes the usage of 4 principles:

  1. Listen to the voice of all customers.
  2. Remove all related non-value-adding steps and procedures from the business process.
  3. Address bottlenecks by re-balancing resources.
  4. Establish an organizational structure to support continuous improvement.

Listen to the voice of all customers

This is what I suggested in the two mentioned blogs about quality. Make sure that you know what your customers value.

Remove all related non-value-adding steps and procedures

I advocated this principle and the next one, address bottlenecks, in my blog regarding complexity.

AT Kearney sums up all types of wasted resources one can have:

  1. Mistakes;
  2. Ineffective processes;
  3. Production errors;
  4. Unnecessary movement of case files and other documents;
  5. Input and output buffers;
  6. Transportation;
  7. Waiting.

Address bottlenecks by re-balancing resources

Resources are scarce. Make use of them in the best way.

Establish an organizational structure to support continuous improvement

The continuous improvement process needs a clear owner. If the owner is inadequate, or cannot take the right and necessary enforceable decisions, the result will be only a partial optimization.

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