- To have genuinely happy customers
- To make good profits
- Develop good teams in all areas of your business
- Develop reliable suppliers
- To grow your business
- Reduce costs by removing wasteful activities in all areas of the your business
- Continually strive to improve on current service and excite your clients
- Increase capacity from within so you can add more value and do more sales without adding costs
With the PRIMARY Goal, to stay in business and make healthy profits!
And as Jack Welsch puts it business is about winning
“…I think winning is great. Not good – great. Winning in business is great because when companies win, people thrive and grow. There are more jobs and more opportunities everywhere and for everyone.”
With that laid out above I can’t see anything that doesn’t fall somewhere within the 5 Lean Principles.
So when someone asks me about Lean for Business Excellence, I say ABSOLUTELY!
Personally I have been involved in Lean for the last 17 years, my qualification is Manufacturing Engineering, however my first role was a project engineer with Fujitsu and I had the pleasure of using lean principles from the get go and I haven’t looked back. Over the years I have been implementing lean strategies at all levels of business, both for clients and businesses I have ran in the past and there hasn’t been one aspect of any business that could not benefit from lean. In fact, not to practice lean in all aspects of your business means you will never reach your full potential and not to practise crossfunctional will leave your further behind your potential.
So why do I see companies only interested in practicing lean in Operations? Or have lean as one pillar of their House of Excellence, along with Quality, Service Delivery, Client Centricity etc. Lean should be across all functions VERTICALLY & HORIZONTALLY
Lean is about driving excellence and performance through people centric processes.
- By creating a winning team that wants to perform
- By creating a Results Oriented Work Environment
- By creating a culture of Continuous Improvement
EVERYWHERE in your Business.
While Lean does hold its roots in the automotive industry, since then, Lean has moved to many different sectors, regardless of the process being manufacturing or information / service based. In fact, Jack Welsh (CEO GE) has stated that he achieves 80% of his Lean savings in his service-based businesses as opposed to manufacturing. And when you think about it, this makes sense.
With manufacturing, there are limitations based on the constraints of a production line and the knowledge is based on systems and procedures. Service businesses are based more on the human application and knowledge, which leads to greater variables.
For example, 10 Sales Reps executing a sales process 10 different ways.
- How can you measure success?
- Which Sales Rep is performing the best?
- Which process works best, or is it a combination of some of the tasks?
Developing standard approaches means that you can measure against that standard. It may not be great in the beginning, however it’s a starting point to continually make small, incremental improvements, therefore over time becoming a very robust process. With that, any new Sales Rep joining your business will be taught YOUR way of doing sales -the way that works for YOUR business.
Lean is more than just a methodology, it is a way of thinking, a thought process that strives to continually improve on what you have already achieved so you are constantly making tomorrow better than today.
Lean, pure and simple, is excellence and whether the process is information or manufacturing based, it doesn’t care, there is always a way to firstly do things better.. then, do better things..
If your business has not adopted lean thinking in all areas, and you are making profits, you have an opportunity to really pump up your bottom line, your service delivery, your cash flow and your Profits.
Toyota’s business model is based around lean and has been since it’s inception many years ago, as far back as Deming introduced them to Plan Do Check Act, the PDCA Cycle which is the essence of Problem Solving and Continuous Improvement as it stands today.