Lean management, or how to heal an enterprise?

The post-World War II era. Japan is trying to recover from the slump it found itself in after the defeat. Companies there are no match for the giants of the West. But are they really? For it turns out that a small company, unknown to the general public, thanks to the application of a new concept such as lean management, is becoming one of the world leaders, and its rivals are copying the method that allowed it to achieve such great success. The company in question is Toyota Motor Company, which probably needs no introduction to anyone. The solution that has been applied to this company is lean management, also referred to as lean, or "lean management." What makes this method so effective?

Lean management, or 5 steps to health

Lean management It consists of 5 stages:

  • Defining customer value,
  • Determine the value stream for each product,
  • Establish a free flow of materials and raw materials,
  • Implementation of a suction system in the customer-supplier relationship,
  • Continuous improvement.

In order to define customer values, it is necessary to determine which elements are most important from the customer's point of view, and which elements do not add any value to the products. Then you should create a so-called value stream - that is, locate and identify the operations, activities and actions needed to produce the product, which include not only materials, but also information. The next step is to conduct an analysis, which will allow you to answer the question of whether each of the stages that occur adds value to the product. Any factor that does not add such value should be gotten rid of.

Next, we need to make sure that there is a "continuous flow" in the already depleted elements, that is, to ensure that products do not encounter any resistance or downtime on their way to production. The next step is to implement a "suction system" in the customer-supplier relationship. This "suction" is the actual demand for the product made by the consumer. Instead of relying on forecasts, we adjust production to real demand. In this way, we avoid creating "for stock". Continuous improvement manifests itself in the constant optimization of processes in the organization, which improves their efficiency. Numerous projects and initiatives are carried out, aimed at depleting structures and procedures.

Say: "no" to waste

The biblical father embraced the prodigal son, seeing that the son wised up and repented. You, however, need to get rid of waste in your business so that you can reduce costs as efficiently as possible. There are 7 "cardinal sins of waste."

  • Disadvantages,
  • Unnecessary transportation,
  • An unnecessary move,
  • Overproduction,
  • Expectation,
  • Overprocessing,
  • Supplies.

Defects refer to an improperly made product or service. Unnecessary transportation and movement, on the other hand, usually result from poor work organization and improper logistical decisions, and manifest themselves in unnecessary movement of product and additional employee effort, which impinges on efficiency. Overproduction, on the other hand, is related to failure to adjust to actual production, based on forecasts. When it takes too long to add value to products, there is an expectation that leads to wasting our resources. The other way can't be exaggerated either - over-processing products also contributes to creating unnecessary waste. All inventory that is above the absolute minimum should be gotten rid of.

Lean management tools

There are a whole range of tools to help free yourself from unwanted waste. However, since there were 7 deadly sins of waste, we will also present 7 of the most popular and effective "good deeds" that will allow you to combat the aforementioned lapses:

  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) - measures of the effectiveness of the company's processes,
  • VSM, or value stream mapping - as the name suggests, we map the flow of information and materials,
  • Spaghetti diagram - allows you to catch and remove excess movement of employees and products,
  • Visual management - presenting data and information in a clear, easy-to-understand manner, which increases the pace of work, reduces mistakes and allows for immediate response in non-standard situations,
  • Fishbone diagram - allows to identify cause-and-effect sequences, it is an effective technique when solving problems,
  • Six Sigma - a statistical method aimed at reducing costs and improving product quality,
  • 5S - this tool will make your company's workplace clean and orderly.

Slimming down easier than usual

We usually associate weight loss with chronic hunger and lack of strength, which we call dieting, as well as numerous hours spent in the gym. The effectiveness of these measures is not always satisfactory and often ends in putting off our dreams of a better figure for the future, combined with a cup of ice cream as consolation. Not so when using lean management tools! When it comes to losing weight in our company, the results are already visible after a short time and will probably exceed your expectations, and the process itself requires relatively little effort. If you do not know how to plan the described process it is worth using a professional strategic consulting. However, there is a similarity with traditional weight loss - the unfortunate and hated yo-yo effect. To avoid it, it is necessary to constantly implement and monitor tools lean management. Let your company become fit!

Maciej Kalbarczyk

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