October 24th, 2019

Lean is becoming very popular in the business world, as a method of maximising customer value while minimising waste. In very simple terms, Lean means giving better value to customers with less resource use for you. But what actual is Lean and why should you implement it? 


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Lean is a business improvement philosophy, which puts the need of the customer first while preventing waste from becoming part of the system. Waste is any non-value adding operations, like transport, inventory, waiting, overprocessing or overproduction. 


What Is Lean Management? 

Lean management creates more value for your end-customer, using less resources along the way. This should result in greater satisfaction and increased sales. Less resources used means your business operates more efficiently and can turn over more profit. 


Many businesses who use lean manufacturing go further, and implement continuous process improvements. This allows a business to make progress towards their goals in a gradual way, without an entire overhaul of their systems. In basic terms, lean management means delivering more customer value, minimising waste and continuously improving. 


What Are The Benefits?

A Lean approach can be applied to just about industry or business model, with the help of lean consulting. Businesses from software development to industrial engineering can adopt lean principles. Everybody benefits, including customers, team members and shareholders.


Lean improves efficiency. It puts productivity in the centre of your business and eliminates waste, whether it’s wasted time or defective products. It also improves focus, by allowing staff to concentrate on their tasks that drive the best value. 


Lean also streamlines the usage of resources. With lean leadership, your business is able to operate according to real-life demand, rather than on estimates which can be over. You can deliver the right amount of resources, delivering cost reductions, saving your business money. You will also be able to adapt better, as you can deliver projects based on demand, not pre-emptive projections. 


Lean Principles

There are five main principles of lean management. These principles are combined into a company’s processes and culture. This creates lean production, manufacturing and operating systems. 


  • Identify lean value. Identify the value to the customer that you want to create. If it doesn’t contribute to value, it is superfluous. 

  • Map value streams.This is where you work out the workflow. What is the production system and who is involved? With every part of the process clarified, you can identify any step that doesn’t add to customer value. 

  • Develop continuous workflows. With a value stream mapped, you can then turn it into continuous workflows. Most production processes involves several different teams, materials and steps that take place in a tight sequence. If this flow of work stops, waste usually occurs. Splitting workflow into seb-sections is an easy way to spot potential barriers and address them first. 

  • Create a pull system. This means creating based on demand instead of forecasts. This cuts out pre-production waste, and allows you to develop goods or services in response to demand. 

  • Continuous improvement software. Revisit your processes to find opportunities for improvement, improving productivity and customer satisfaction.