What Are Lean Principles And How Can I Use Them As A Manager?

Lean principles deliver success – global businesses have grown very powerful and successful by applying them to a range of both production and service delivery systems.

For further details and explanation, see my Blogs on How Managers Can Use Lean Goals To Deliver Excellence and Using Lean Goals For Business Success.

The fundamental principles of Lean systems are not difficult to apply but generate considerable benefits for organisations in any sector. They are:

  • Eliminate as far as possible waste in all of its forms. This includes scrap products, faulty goods and service systems that are not as effective or efficient as they could be.
  • Make your processes as simple as possible. The more basic the approach the less there is to go wrong with your delivery systems PLUS if the system is simple it has far more chance of being followed and delivered against than a process that is over complicated and with many different things that could go wrong.
  • Identify and implement increased flexibility in your activity. This will allow you to respond rapidly to changes in the customer’s needs without increasing your costs.
  • Only ever focus on the demands and opinions of the customer. This is the ONLY thing that you need to do and anything that is not connected to this principle adds cost but no value.
  • Measure very carefully and systematically the processes/systems that you use and the output that they generate. This approach will let you see where the variances in the systems are and where improvements can be made. It is absolutely true that without such data you will never know how well you are doing and how you can improve things.
  • Have an approach to staffing where there are multi-disciplinary staff and teams in place. This not only increases motivation and application but also productivity, quality and responsiveness.
  • Drive for continuous improvement in all that you do especially through the people actually delivering the product or service. Small incremental improvements in quality that have a big impact will always come from the staff that are actually doing the job and NOT from management who are too far removed from the action to be able to identify and deliver quality developments.

Try the above pointers out – perhaps selecting a few at first and seeing how they might be implemented in very practical terms. Then widen out your scope and try the others.

Good Luck!

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