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two people in high viz in an industrial wood yard
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WHAT IS LEAN?

Ai generated image of a Lean factory floor

Lean Philosophy

Lean is a philosophy originating from the Toyota Production System. The Lean Philosophy uses the central principle of Waste Elimination to ensure customer satisfaction. Waste – there are 8 types of them- is defined as any inherent costs that the customer would not pay for if they saw it specified on their bill, but they are paying for it, nonetheless. There are many terms and phrases for Lean and related concepts. Many people we encounter have some understanding of Lean but struggle to speak confidently about it because of the minefield of terminology and concepts. This is a simple guide to Lean and some of its most closely related concepts.

Customer Value

To avoid this, a profound and diligent focus on Customer Value is required. Only those who gain a deep understanding of their customer’s needs are able to limit their effort to produce and deliver only to those things that their customers value.

Competitive Advantage

Lean organisations outperform non-Lean organisations by prioritising this customer value, which drives continuous improvement in product quality and service delivery. The competitive advantage gained is through enhanced customer satisfaction and loyalty, while simultaneously eliminating waste and increasing operational efficiency and profitability.

Respect for People

Central to Lean thinking are the values of “respect for people” and Continuous Improvement. People hold the key to success. In Lean organisation, workers on the shop floor are empowered to identify any waste and to experiment with ways to reduce it, they are idea generators and problem-solvers who act in the best interests of the organisation.

Respect for people also means that when an issue arises, the process – not the person- is viewed as the problem. This supports a no-blame culture where workers feel supported. They are willing to raise issues and volunteer ideas to solve them, a key facet of Continuous Improvement.

Continuous Improvement

Lean organisations use frameworks, such as the Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle, to constantly and incrementally evaluate how effectively processes are at waste elimination. The objective is to do less more often.

Lean practices such as Process Mapping, Value Stream Mapping, and Daily Management Systems are proven methods of identifying waste, and practices such as 5S and Visual Management are effective at waste elimination.

As part of our Productivity Programme™, we assess an organisation’s maturity against 24 Lean practices and develop a prioritised plan to improve them. Contact us at Productivity People on 0800 pro-people or info@productivitypeople.co.nz to learn more about this.