The Power of Lean Thinking to Transform Business Performance
“The greatest impediment to Lean success is not the need for a different or better methodology, or more evidence of the benefits or even that Lean can work outside of manufacturing. It is the mindset and behaviour of managers and executives.” – Reagan Pannell CEO
To the uninitiated, Lean Six Sigma is a manufacturing tool that involves strange calculations, highly specialised people and if you are lucky some process maps. And it may feel as though Lean doesn’t and won’t ever apply to your business. But Lean is here to stay and it’s benefits reach far beyond manufacturing into almost every area of your business. So if you are a leader, it’s worth exploring how you can benefit from the high productivity, improved company culture and better business results.
Our Lean Insights brings together the most important and essential thinking so that you can learn to leverage lean to improve your customer service delivery, maximise what you do through cost-optimisation and learn to deliver more value to the markets you work in.
Business is changing. Will you adapt or be left behind?
If you ask general managers what they know about Lean, the chances are that they’ll respond with a wry smile and a deflecting quip such as “enough” or “isn’t that more for manufacturing?”. Lean and Lean Six Sigma has never been packaged as nicely as say “Design Thinking” or “Agile”, but Lean Thinking is central to both methodologies.
Lean is a mindset and a method for improvement through a deep focus on the creation of customer value. Agile is a method for improving the innovation part and Design Thinking, is very similar. But Lean is larger as it looks a how do you apply the idea of adaptive testing and learning to improve every part of your business with the customer at the heart.
Lean Thinking is about how to identify activities that don’t add any customer value. And through team problem solving and brainstorming find ways to improve future cycles. The focus could be everything from wait times in hospitals, customer churn rates for a news subscription service, machine breakdown issues, supply chain delivery times or staff attrition rates.
General Managers may not be the experts in the tools, but they must understand how to build the foundations and the culture which allows teams to adapt and adopt. They must understand how to align the competition between the various areas of the business. They must understand how to create frameworks to allow lean learning cycles to accelerate. And they must know how and when to challenge and when to pause and accelerate activities.
The greatest impediment to Lean success is not the need for a different or better methodology, or more evidence of the benefits or even that Lean can work outside of manufacturing. It is the mindset and behaviour of managers and executives.
Those who learn to think Lean and who can extend Lean Thinking across the full spectrum of business activities will accelerate profitable growth.