What is lean implementation aiming at?
The core idea is to maximize customer value while minimizing waste. Simply, lean means creating more value for customers with fewer resources. A lean organization understands customer value and focuses its key processes to continuously increase it. The ultimate goal is to provide perfect value to the customer through a perfect value creation process that has zero waste. To accomplish this, lean thinking changes the focus of management from optimizing separate technologies, assets, and vertical departments to optimizing the flow of products and services. This is done through entire value streams that flow horizontally across technologies, assets, and departments to customers. We have previously read about Kaizen here.
Eliminating waste along entire value streams, instead of at isolated points, creates processes that need less human effort, less space, less capital, and less time to make products and services at far less costs and with much fewer defects, compared with traditional business systems. Companies are able to respond to changing customer desires with high variety, high quality, low cost, and with very fast throughput times. Also, information management becomes much simpler and more accurate.
Following is the 5 step process of Lean Transformation :
Step 1: Specify Value
Define value from the perspective of the final customer. Express value in terms of a specific product, which meets the customer’s needs at a specific price and at a specific time. Thus, one needs the critical starting point. Define value from the customer’s perspective and express value in terms of a specific product.
Step 2: Map
Identify the value stream, the set of all specific actions required to bring a specific product through the three critical management tasks of any business: the problem-solving task, the information management task, and the physical transformation task. Create a map of the Current State and the Future State of the value stream. Identify and categorize waste in the Current State, and eliminate it! Map all of the steps that bring a product or service to the customer. Include:
Value-added– Activities that are of value to the customer.
Value enabling– Not valued by the customer, but required for the process.
Non-value added– Create no value and are avoidable.
Step 3: Flow
Make the remaining steps in the value stream flow. Eliminate functional barriers and develop a product-focused organization that dramatically improves lead-time.Also, create the continuum of product movement, services, and information from beginning to end. Eliminate batch testing. Nothing is done by the upstream process until the downstream customer signals the need. Hence, it is necessary to eliminate unnecessary inventory buildup.
Step 4: Pull
Let the customer pull products as needed, eliminating the need for a sales forecast.
Step 5: Perfection
There is no end to the process of reducing effort, time, space, cost, and mistakes. Also, return to the first step and begin the next lean transformation, offering a product which is ever more nearly what the customer wants. Perfection is the complete elimination of waste so that all activities create value for the customer. Thus, this is a continual (never-ending) process.
The following steps should be implemented to create the ideal lean system in an organization:
Design a simple system
Recognize that there is always room for improvement
Continuously improve the lean system design