Lean refers to a business philosophy focused on reducing waste and removing inefficiencies. It originates from the Toyota Production System (TPS), often referred to as Just in Time production.
Lean principles allow you to develop systems that reduce variability, streamline processes and increase productivity and efficiency. Utilizing Lean principles allows you to do more with less and provide the same value to your customers more affordably and with less effort. These methods will allow you to meet your goals by maximizing efficiency.
Here is a list of 10 Lean principles that you can leverage to optimize your business by adding value and minimizing waste.
Clearly Define Value
The end goal of Lean business philosophy is to provide an equal or greater value to the customer more efficiently. To do that, you have to take a good look at your products from a customer’s perspective.
Start with the current situation – how does the product help the customer, what do they need and why? Once you do that, you can think about ways to improve your product and the entire process.
Set a Rational, Attainable Goal
One of the key elements of Lean is devotion to continuous improvement. Chart a clear course toward a concrete goal. Be specific and realistic. Track your progress during a defined period of time.
Focus on monthly or quarterly goals. When you clearly define your goals, you can measure improvements and reflect upon how to better apply Lean principles going forward. Make sure that your objectives are attainable – being too ambitious in the short term will only lead to unnecessary disappointment, and it might discourage you.
Once you have a clearly defined set of goals, prioritize the activities that will help you attain those goals. You will most likely end up with a large list of ideas and tasks. Start by cutting the list down to the three most important items.
Break them up into smaller sections and divide the workload and goals on a monthly, weekly and daily basis. Spend the majority of your time and energy working toward these goals. The logic is simple – put the most effort into the areas that will give you the greatest returns.
Outsourcing is often spoken of in a negative context. But offloading work to qualified professionals is an efficient principle. Most people have a limited area of expertise. Hiring an expert in a field that is not your strong suit accomplishes two things – it frees up your time, and it usually delivers better results more quickly.
Outsourcing, when done right, is a fantastic way to optimize your business. You will get to make better use of your time and focus on the areas where you can personally make a big difference. Improving your strong suits and knowledge is worth the investment.
Outsourcing is cost-saving and helps you focus on the core business areas. From manufacturing to writing business proposals and research papers, you can opt to outsource all such activities. The best-known online writing services in this regard are bestessayservicereviews.com, topeduservices.com and Bestassignmentservices.co.uk.
Create a Workplace Culture of Constant Improvement
Creating a workplace culture that aligns with Lean principles will encourage constant improvement. Share these Lean principles with your employees and notify them of your ideas. Include them in the conversation. This will go a long way toward solidifying a positive workplace culture.
Letting your employees share their own suggestions is critical. Simply stated, the person that is most likely to improve a process is the person carrying out that process.
Listen to the ideas of the people who are doing the work in question – their ideas for improvement, feedback and critique can be invaluable.
Eliminating waste refers to removing factors that don’t add value to your product. Waste can take on many forms – waiting, issues with shipping, defects and non-utilized or under-utilized talent.
You’re bound to be performing some wasteful activities. Some of these activities are necessary to support value-producing activities. Those are activities you may want to optimize, but not remove or change in a significant way.
On the other hand, certain types of wasteful activities bring only harm to your bottom line and profits. These are the activities that require major changes. Getting rid of waste allows you to allocate resources in a manner that brings you the biggest returns.
Reevaluate Your Business Activities
Businesses change over time. In most cases, inefficient activities are retained simply out of habit. To cut out waste, you have to reanalyze your business activities. If some activities aren’t necessary or don’t add enough value, you need to compensate.
Figuring out what isn’t providing value can help you get a better sense of the bigger picture. Working out the root causes of inefficiencies will also help you prevent similar mistakes in the future.
Apply Lean Thinking to Meetings
Meetings are a necessary part of running a business. But more often than not, they turn into long, wasteful events that don’t add any value to your product or service. Cut the fluff out of your meetings.
Keep them focused on goals and concrete ideas. Schedule meetings ahead of time, meet earlier rather than later and keep meetings under an hour long. If you absolutely require a long meeting – apply Lean principles by dividing it into several smaller, more focused meetings.
Update, Upgrade and Invest
Investing in your business or updating certain elements is a great way to increase productivity. Do your research and figure out which processes could use an upgrade. Automating certain mundane tasks is a great way to free up time and resources.
New equipment can boost productivity, and investing in employee training is sure to have a positive effect on your overall efficiency. Updating any part of a business can be disruptive – take your time, schedule and prepare in advance.
Utilize Talent Efficiently
Lean principles naturally go together with a rational division of labor. To be efficient, a business must put employees in a position that will allow them to add the most value to the product.
Once you’ve divided your priorities into small tasks, it’s a matter of trial and error. After a while, it will be obvious who performs which tasks best. It’s a simple step that will make the everyday operations of your business smoother. As a bonus, employees are generally more satisfied performing tasks that they excel at.
Incorporating these Lean principles into your business will make it more efficient and less wasteful. The Lean business philosophy is applicable in a variety of ways. It’s a way of thinking which will help you make the most of existing resources. Lean principles encourage everything that adds value. In short – there is no excuse not to conquer these principles.