What do You Understand by Lean Process Improvement?

    by Aditi Bansal

Updated on Friday, August 11, 2017

Are you in a service industry, mature industry, or in any other organization that handles few trades? Perhaps the Theory of Constraints or Lean thinking can work better for you.

tags  #Process Improvement  #Lean Process #


What is Lean Process Improvement?

Lean Thinking

Have you ever asked yourself what lean thinking means? Just like the name implies, it’s a way of viewing the world. Lean is all about removing waste, focus, and increasing the value of the customer. Lean is also about process flows engaging in activities that add the value of the customer and also eliminate activities that don’t. Adding value also means generating revenue. If something doesn’t generate revenue, then it will add costs, not value.

Lean Process Flow

Follow these basic steps to assess lean operations:

  • Determine the structure of activities
  • Identify some of the activities that add value
  • Allow clients to pull services or products
  • Eliminate all activities that don’t add value to your business
  • Improve the process

Companies that have very short order-to-delivery cycles are lean operations. This means that they have strong cash cycle.

Lean 5S System

The lean 5S system of organization is another vital tool that is used in lean thinking. A messy desk, workplace or manufacturing cell only makes it difficult to find things, easily introduces mistakes or accidents, and it’s very easy to get distracted. The 5S stands for:

  1. Sort,
  2. Set in Order,
  3. Shine,
  4. Standardize,
  5. Sustain

The lean system is more visual, Zen-like, even picturesque. This is because it’s a state of mind and it doesn’t require any mathematical analysis like in the Six Sigma

Lean Thinking vs Six Sigma

Six Sigma process views process variation as waste. On the other hand, lean thinking focuses more on process flow and views other activities that don’t add value to waste. The six sigma approach makes use of statistics to determine any variations while lean uses visuals such as flowcharting, process mapping, visual dashboards, and value stream mapping to understand the process flow.

Lean thinking is more suitable for mature, slow growth, low transaction industries or organizations that don’t often use mathematical tools. It also focuses on cutting costs. What you need is to balance the resources released for lean or Six Sigma improvement programs.

Lean Process Improvement

In case you run a slow growth, mature, non-math, or low transaction business, Lean thinking can work best for you.

This page has a focus on Process Improvement, Lean Process was shared by Aditi Bansal.

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