Is Your Business Lean?

Lean is a set of principles used for analyzing a business process in order to identify and eliminate wastes from it. Effective use of Lean can improve efficiency and productivity of a business. It was originally developed and implemented by Toyota Production System to improve their manufacturing process. However, the process is now being used by several service industries other than the automobile industry, and is now commonly used in business processes in general to improve efficiencies in the operations of a business. Lean technique primarily aims to reduce production and processing costs by eliminating unnecessary steps or making better use of time. Read on to find out why Lean is used and the benefits associated with it.

Lean and its Benefits: Why Use It?

The Lean process seeks to identify unnecessary steps, wasted or ‘wait’ time, tools and costs in a process and eliminate those in order to add value to the end product, improve effectiveness and efficiency. Following are the five major reasons why a business should use Lean for analyzing their business processes.

  1. Saving time – Lean business process analysis entails examining each and every step of a process to look for any waste of time or redundant steps. By effectively removing or managing these areas, Lean can reduce costs of production and improve productivity. There are times when the lag between one action and another cannot be reduced, so it is important to look at how that time can be better used.
  1. Controlling quality – Unlike traditional quality control strategies, Lean doesn’t rely on quality inspection of the final product. Instead, it seeks to build a process that requires each and every step of the production to go through quality checks. Not to mention, this helps to reduce defect rates as well as helps to produce better quality products or services for end users. A happy and loyal customer is worth a lot of money to an organization.
  1. Managing space – With effective inventory management and space management, businesses can reduce downtime and increase productivity. Lean requires organizing the workplace in such a way that all necessary equipments can be found quickly when required. It also focuses on removing unnecessary tools in order to save space and better inventory management to reduce storage costs balancing with transportation and delivery costs.
  1. Adding value – According to the Lean philosophy, whether value is being added should be considered from the end users’ point of view. When considering the contribution of a particular step in the current process, it is important to judge whether the step is adding any value to the final product. If not, then that particular step should be considered as waste or assessed for required modifications.
  1. Achieving continuous improvements – Organizations using Lean keep on improving their business process continually. Effective implementation of Lean helps businesses avoid complacency, enabling continuous improvement for the business.

Ultimately, Lean helps save money and improves productivity for a business by eliminating all unwanted aspects of the process. Lean can also be combined with Motorola’s Six Sigma program when producing a product or service. While Lean helps reduce the cost of production, Six Sigma is used to improve quality of a service or product.

There is a lot to know about Lean, but it is sure worth understanding if you want an effective and efficiently operating organization.

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