The Lean Management Approach
What is Lean Management?
Lean Management is an approach to management that seeks to enhance efficiency and productivity through eliminating waste from the business processes. The focus is on increasing the value provided to the customer through resource optimization.
The concept is based on the Toyota production system that was established in the late 1940’s. Toyota implemented five principles into their business which sought to eliminate waste and reduce the number of processes that were not adding value.
What is “Waste”?
The 8 wastes of lean are the 8 types of roadblocks that can get in the way of adding value to the customer.
- Defects: imperfections or faults with a product or service.
- Overproduction: producing more than is needed of a product or service.
- Waiting: processes not flowing smoothly and resulting in delays.
- Unused Potential: not utilizing employees who could be adding significant value.
- Inventory: a surplus of products or materials in storage, increasing costs.
- Motion: unnecessary movement that does not add value.
- Extra Processing: any activity that is unnecessary to the functioning of a product or service.
The Benefits of Lean Management
The main benefits of adopting a lean approach to management are:
- Waste reduction;
- Improved customer satisfaction;
- Increased productivity and efficiency;
- Improved use of resources; and,
- Intelligent business processes.
The 5 Steps of Lean Management
There are 5 basic steps to the lean management process.
- Pull; and,
Step 1: Identifying Value
The first step to lean management is identifying the problem that the customer has where the product or service being offered is the solution. The activities and processes that do not enable and enhance the value being provided to the customer could be considered waste that can be eliminated.
Step 2: Value Stream Mapping
The second step is to map out the entire company’s workflow, outlining the order of all activities and people who contribute to providing the product or service to the customer.
Step 3: Creating Continuous Flow
The next step is to analyse the value stream map and ensure that each workflow is running smoothly, free from interruption or overflow. Breaking the workflow down into individual steps will assist you to identify and remove any process inefficiencies.
Step 4: Creating Pull
This step involves making sure that your workflow operates as a pull system, where work is only started when there is a demand for it. This minimizes overheads, optimizes storage costs and ensures that resources are focused on adding value to the product or service that is in demand.
Step 5: Continuous Improvement
The final step in the lean management approach is to continually monitor the company’s workflows, observing what is being done and needs to be done, identifying any obstacles and assessing where improvements can be made.
A Lean Quality Management System
The lean management approach is essentially a quality management system. It is a continuous process which oversees all aspects of an organization’s operation, identifying inefficiencies and unnecessary waste.
The key is being able to visualize the value stream. This assists in identifying and removing any unnecessary steps in the workflow, eliminating waste, optimizing use of resources and ensuring that all activities are creating value.
Lean management acts as a guide to building a stable and successful business which is constantly evolving and improving, identifying any problems with ease and resolving them quickly.
ISO 9001: Quality Management Systems
Similar to the lean management approach, ISO 9001 (Quality Management Systems) assists businesses in maximizing efficiency, improving quality control and increasing customer satisfaction.
The key benefits that can be achieved by implementing the ISO 9001 criteria are:
- Reduced costs;
- Increased productivity and efficiency;
- Ensuring that your customers are put first;
- Identifying opportunities;
- Aligning business processes;
- Satisfying statutory and regulatory requirements; and,
- The ability to identify any potential risks with ease.
A business can benefit from utilizing this standard without proceeding to certification, however being ISO 9001 certified helps to reassure customers that your products and services are of a quality standard in line with their expectations.
QSM Group can help your business with quality management. Our consultants are highly experienced in and qualified to assist with compliance and certification to ISO 9001: Quality Management Systems.
Contact us today and arrange an obligation free consultation to see how we can help.