The specialists here at Clarity are dedicated to helping businesses across all sectors to embed a Lean culture throughout the workplace. As with any system, there are certain principles that must be followed. If you fail to observe these, everything you build will soon come crashing down.
There are five Lean principles, with each one being just as crucial as the last. Below you’ll find out what they are and how they will enable you to apply Lean principles across every process.
Whatever your business does, it offers value to your customers. Without value, there’s no point in people purchasing your products or services. To begin your Lean journey, you must first identify the value that your company provides.
This is different to saying what you do, as the value is all about the why and the how – why does your business do what it does and how will this benefit the user? Identifying value is crucial, as from here you can focus on optimising the process.
You’ve established the value of your products or services, so now it’s a case of mapping the value stream. This involves analysing every stage of delivery and pinpointing any constraints that decrease the value of your service offering.
It could be a process that creates too much waste or is simply superfluous and therefore squanders time and energy. Whatever the case, anything that doesn’t clearly add value should be fine-tuned, adapted or removed entirely. By mapping the value stream, you’re creating a roadmap that leads to a far more productive business model.
Fixing a problem and enhancing a process is one thing, and ensuring sustainability is another matter entirely. You need to know that your updated system can guarantee flow, which could be impeded by even the smallest of factors.
This stage requires a lot of work, as it means locating operational obstacles that may be either hidden or so ingrained that they seem impossible to remove. However, where there’s a will there’s a way. Our Senior Visual Management Advisors will help you to break each process into individual steps and determine how to remove blockages to flow.
It’s now time to create a pull system, which revolves around supply and demand. Rather than making large quantities of product in advance, as is normal in the traditional ‘push’ system of manufacturing, often resulting in overstocking and costly storage, a ‘pull’ system manufactures only for the current requirements of the customer.
The result is a system that works backwards through your value stream, pulling product through the different processes based on customer demand, therefore eliminating the need for volume forecasting. By manufacturing products when the customer orders them, you can eliminate bulky inventory throughout your entire value stream and focus 100% on fulfilling the immediate needs of your customer base.
The four steps above are essential for removing waste, with the fifth and final step focusing on ensuring that the entire system is sustainable. In order for Lean to remain firmly in place, you need to embed a relentless and perpetual culture of pursuing continuous improvement.
Through training, visual management tools and an ongoing commitment to enhancing the way everyone works, your business will be able to identify and remove any new constraints that affect value, flow and pull. The outcome is a workforce that has everything it needs to bring top results without any waste, enabling a more productive and profitable business model.
We’re here to help you either start your Lean journey from scratch or significantly improve your current system through visual management products. To find out more about how Lean can transform your business, get in touch with our team of specialists on +44 (0)1482 296451 or fill in our contact form.
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