What is Lean?


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Overview of what Lean management means to organizations in terms of culture change, process improvement and the importance of educating your workforce about Lean Enterprise concepts.

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What is Lean?

  1. 1. What is Lean? Simply put, Lean is a total change in the culture of any organization. The new culture creates processes that are free of waste and deliver value to the end customer at lower costs, higher quality, and on time, based on the expectations of the customer.
  2. 2. What is Lean? Some facts: • Lean has very little to do with the product or service that your organization produces. • Lean can not be successfully planned and implemented unless everyone in the organization has detailed knowledge of Lean. • Lean can not be implemented by a few. Everyone in the organization must be involved.
  3. 3. What is Lean? Facts: • Lean as a program to eliminate people is doomed to fail. • Suppliers and customers must participate in the implementation of Lean. • Lean is never fully implemented. Lean is a continuous process improvement program that demands periodic reviews of processes that have been changed.
  4. 4. What is Lean? Facts: • Lean is about creating processes that have predictable and reliable results. • The focus of process change is to create a process that meets the value expectations of the downstream customer. • More than 50% of the time and money spent on existing non-lean processes is wasted!
  5. 5. What is Lean? What you may have heard about Lean: “We don’t have the money or resources to attempt a lean implementation.” Response: If 50% of what you do today is wasteful and does not add value to the end customer, surely you can afford to do things differently.
  6. 6. What is Lean? “Oh, we tried Lean and it did not work” Response: If your organization failed to educate everyone on the elements, rules, and tools of Lean, you were destined for failure. If your organization failed to produce a strategic plan for a lean implementation, you were destined for failure. If management was not committed to a culture change and did not participate in and support the Lean effort, you were destined for failure.
  7. 7. What is Lean? “Lean does not apply to my industry” Response: Lean works everywhere. Lean started in the automotive industry but has moved on to healthcare, service businesses, and government. Again, Lean is about processes not products or services.
  8. 8. What is Lean? “My organization is not large enough to receive any benefits from Lean education.” Response: No organization is too small to receive benefits from Lean education. There is no business that is void of processes. If just one of those processes is broken, you can receive a benefit from it being fixed.
  9. 9. What is Lean? Elements of Lean: Value Value Stream Flow Pull Perfection
  10. 10. Value What is value? Value is what the downstream or end customer is asking or paying you to provide. Value is always defined by the downstream or end customer. Rule of thumb: If your processes include steps that your customers would not be willing to pay for, you should make every attempt to eliminate those process steps.
  11. 11. Value Stream The value stream is represented by everything that your organization does to deliver a product or service to your end customer. Rule of thumb: A successful and sustainable lean program must examine every process in the value stream.
  12. 12. Flow Flow relates to processes that move products or services through a value stream at a pace that meets the end customer’s expectation of a timely delivery. Rule of thumb: Flow is always determined using the customer’s expectation. Government organizations usually run counter to this concept and dictate delivery times to their end customers. This can change!
  13. 13. Pull Pull relates to processes that start building a product or providing a service once an order for that product or service is received. This is the reverse of processes that operate on a PUSH basis that simply builds products and then waits for an order.
  14. 14. Perfection A Lean organization seeks perfection in everything that it does. Every process in a Lean organization is free of waste and delivers quality results at less cost, and delivers the products or services in a timely fashion.
  15. 15. Culture Change If the current culture of your organization has created processes that are wasteful and fail to deliver products and services on time at a competitive price and of high quality, changes must be made. Lean forces a culture change. Lean accomplishes culture change in a controlled environment. The key component of culture change is EDUCATION.
  16. 16. Education Any culture that was developed and sustained itself did so by educating everyone as to the basic concepts and beliefs of that culture. Rule of thumb: If every executive in your organization is not educated relative to the elements, rules and tools associated with a Lean implementation, you will fail in the implementation of that program.
  17. 17. Education Rule of thumb: If every worker in the organization does not receive a comprehensive education in the elements, rules and tools of a lean program, you will fail. If everyone in your organization fails to participate in a lean implementation, you will fail.
  18. 18. Kaizen Once everyone in your organization has received a comprehensive Lean education, you are ready to begin a Lean implementation. • “Kaizen” is a team event that deals with every aspect of change within your organization. • Kaizen teams are used to identify value as perceived by the downstream or end customer. • Kaizen teams are used to depict the value stream of every product or service offered by your organization.
  19. 19. Kaizen • Kaizen teams are used to analyze and fix every process in the many value streams that exist in your organization. • Traditionally, Kaizen teams are small (6 to 8 workers) who have a short period of time to analyze and fix a process (one to two weeks is ideal).
  20. 20. Kaizen • Kaizen teams are made up of workers from your organization as well as supplier and customer organizations. • No more than 2 of the team members should have working knowledge of or work within the process being examined. • Function over form is the rule for a Kaizen event. It does not have to look pretty and any time spent on making it pretty is wasted.
  21. 21. Kaizen • Every process should be revisited by a Kaizen team one year after a Kaizen event. As workers become more familiar with Lean they will make changes to processes as they are needed, using Kaizen methods and Lean rules and tools.
  22. 22. Benefits What can You expect to gain from a successful and sustainable Lean implementation? • A complete overhaul of your organization’s culture. • Processes that are free of waste and deliver products and services that are of high quality, less costly, and delivered on time based on the expectations of your downstream and end customers.
  23. 23. Benefits • Products that have been engineered to work once produced and are designed to be built with the least amount of effort and cost. • Production and office facilities that are designed to produce products and services safely with the least amount of movement. • Processes that have quality built in as opposed to those that have quality checked at the end of the process.
  24. 24. Benefits • Employees that are lean thinkers and who can adapt to change. • Drastically improved margins. • Reduced Lead Times. • Reduced scrap costs (in manufacturing). • Reduced inventories. • Reduced capital equipment costs. • Less costly rework.
  25. 25. Benefits • Processes that can meet budgeted operating costs. • Maintenance programs that extend the useful life of assets. • Suppliers who can react to fluctuations in volume. • Satisfied customers. • Growth.