10 Quick Tips About Lean Fundamentals

Lean_CultureDo you need to answer the question, "what is lean?" Were you searching for a short, succinct way to understand the lean basics? – Look no further - you found it!  We’ve done the homework and have compiled the following 10 Quick Tips about Lean Fundamentals:

  1. Understand that lean is about providing the highest quality product or service at the lowest possible total cost while creating safe and rewarding work environments for people.
  1. Align your work with your customers’ (both internal and external) value proposition.
  1. Focus on safety, cost, quality and delivery.
  1. Identify and eliminate waste by classifying your work into value-add, non-value-add, and business-value-add:
Value-added (VA) Activities/Processes:
Any activity or process the customer will be willing to pay for. For example, a production worker putting the steering wheel on a car properly would be a value-added process. VA work needs to be optimized and improved upon.
Non-value-added (NVA) Activities/Processes:
Any activity or process the customer would not want to pay for if they knew you were doing it. For example, a car manufacturer paying to warehouse 12 months’ worth of steering wheels would be non-value added. NVA work needs to be eliminated.
Business-value-added (BVA) Activities/Processes:
Any activity or process the customer would not want to pay for, but which cannot be eliminated at this point. For example, legislative and Homeland Security processes may be considered business-value added. These processes need to be rationalized and then minimized and automated where possible.
  1. Prevent process entropy by using process discipline tools like PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act). The power of PDCA is when it becomes part of the business culture. Effective PDCA may be the deciding factor between a successful or unsuccessful Lean Journey.
  1. The first and most important step in solving a problem is to define the problem correctly.
  1. You must determine the root cause of the problem before implementing a solution – otherwise your solution will not truly fix the problem.

In the Lean Enterprise, having “no problem” is a problem because it means people aren’t paying attention. Every process has and will continue to have problems. You need to give people the tools and freedom to expose and fix those problems. In a Lean Enterprise, finding problems is good! Hiding problems is bad!

  1. In order to improve a process, it must be stabilized.  To create stability, use standardization, visual management, flow, visual management, quality at the source and systems thinking.
  1. Show respect for people by creating safe work environments, both physically and mentally where people are not afraid to expose problems.

To be successful, people need to know where they are and where they are going, as well as how their efforts fit into the greater good of the organization.  One of the ways a Lean Enterprise meets these needs and establishes discipline to the process is by communicating clear plans that show respect for people and set expectations for what should happen. For people to work at their full potential, they need to know the plan for each day.

10. When you encounter a problem, resist the urge to find someone to blame.  Instead, look to the process for the source of the problem.

These 10 Quick Tips about Lean Fundamentals is just the beginning. There’s much more to learn - LeanCor has compiled the lean basics into a 90 minute online training course.  

Learn More

Posted by Leeanna Thomas

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