How Can Lean Help My Organization? We Are Not a Manufacturer
Hospitals and governments, teachers and service providers, printers, organizers of events, hospitals, and insurance companies inquire. “How do I Lean be applied to the needs of my business?. I don’t manufacture automobiles as Toyota.” However, implementing Lean in these companies can bring an advantage to the business and its leaders, employees, and customers in the same way as it does to manufacturing businesses.
Differentialities in Organizations
These companies do not have a manufacturing line that is producing a particular item or set of items. In reality, they are able to list ways that they differ. Take a hospital as an instance. Even if patients suffer from the same condition as another patient, they are presented with their own unique series of symptoms and signs. For printing, the tasks may appear similar. However, their layouts, stocks, ink, and specifications are different. For event planners, every celebration, festival, or fundraising event has unique requirements and obstacles. But, they all follow an established procedure, and every industry faces process-related issues. It is the same Lean principles that are applicable to all industries. There are adjustments that may be needed to accommodate the needs of the business. However, the Lean tools can be employed, and management practices are implemented.
The value of businesses
Through the use of Lean procedures as well as Lean control, companies can cut out mistakes, rework, or “do-overs” and reduce processing times, and improve efficiency, customer service workflow, quality, and. If regular maintenance is scheduled and quality control actions are implemented, the quality and efficiency actually improve, and waste is decreased. When procedures, also known as standard work documentation, are created, it is possible to identify areas of improvement and then celebrate when the conditions you set are met.
For instance, I’m able to provide numerous hospitals which have implemented Lean in areas of testing and emergency rooms. The results are improved satisfaction and care for patients and also a reduction in waste. In the instance of the ER staff, they were in a position to cut down on the time it took to assess the patients arriving and also to ensure that they had the required equipment in the right location. For the testing, room waiting time and paperwork were reduced, and both the staff and customer satisfaction increased. There are countless examples of the success of these sectors. Government offices have reduced costs and paperwork while also increasing citizen satisfaction ratings. Printers cut costs in many ways, such as inventory and waste, while improving the workflow. Their result was more business growth and higher profits.
The Provocative Events Along the Journey
But, they have not been without obstacles. The most straightforward part of getting into Lean is understanding the Lean processes and the correct way to fill out the forms. The biggest challenge is developing and maintaining the Lean culture. All the executive staff must be fully committed to Lean and the development and maintenance of the Lean culture. It requires commitment and discipline from the part of the management team, specifically the middle management, who must adhere to the lean methods. It is essential to have top-down and bottom-up perspectives that can see both the bigger picture and particulars. It requires more than an initial glance to determine the parts of the end-to-end workflow that aren’t worth the price the client is willing to pay.
It’s easy to fall back into routines and habits and engage in fighting flames whenever something isn’t working. The old habits die hard, and like a phoenix, they emerge from the dust. It takes discipline to adhere to the procedures required to identify the root of the issue and correct it. It is also a matter of discipline to the team to establish and adhere to the standard work guidelines of the leader. Controls that are visual and ongoing accountable helps to break up old habits and foster new ones.
Visual controls serve as reminders and indicate when the procedure is not adhered to. My doctor’s office is in Johns Hopkins Hospital. When I visited him last time, I was able to see visually-based checklists for certain interactions between patients. One of them was hand-washing prior to touching patients. The hospital was carrying out an initiative to cut down on infection in the hospital. Their standards of operation included this easy procedure. They were happy with the results and placed the charts on their premises to show the improvements as an outcome of this campaign. This procedure is a component of the normal work routine in the hospital.
My co-worker John and I were working in a tech company that was developing materials for sales and customer service. We were situated next to the hotline for the customer service location. I saw large screens that displayed the status of calls. The manager was delighted to explain how the calls were logged and the frequency at which they were swiftly and efficiently completed. He also described the procedures and processes that they utilized in order to pinpoint the root of the issue. Following the procedures for resolution enabled them to not only resolve the customer’s request but also inform the field service or engineering department to avoid future problems. Standards of conduct, discipline, and controls for visuals allow employees to be proud of their work and feel confident they’re providing high-quality services and products.
Resistance to Change
It requires effort to overcome the resistance and attain the ideal conditions of these companies. The majority of work in the workplace nowadays is performed on a desktop or on a desk. It’s hard to see the flow of work and time for every single task. In addition, many organizations have vague guidelines, and employees have created their own methods to do things. This is why employees oppose accountability, standards for work, and also the Lean documents. They feel that they are being micro-managed.
To get past the opposition to changes, the management should demonstrate that the objective is to identify your value chain and to make the work of the employee simpler. Managers and executives must assure the employees that they’re not trying to end their work but instead to identify the issues their employees face as well as the education they require. Lean can help solve some of the issues that frustrate employees each day. If they can see that management acts and removes these issues, satisfaction increases, employees are more engaged and are involved in solving issues, and the goals of the company are accomplished.
Strategies for Success
Since business processes take place in cross-functional teams and can involve project teams, it’s essential to establish as well as implement Lean methods as well as Lean management initiatives, with the oversight of an executive and accountability to the ultimate. Management at the top must set the vision and objectives of the company for the outcomes of the Lean implementation. They should also be aware of the importance of Lean organizational activities and participate in the process. Gemba strolls, and the importance of executive involvement will soon be the subject of a different blog article. At present, it is enough to state that they should be active.
A lot of the companies I have worked with have complicated organizational structures as well as very diverse services or products, but the improvements in performance, productivity, and satisfaction for customers and employees are what make Lean implementation well worth the energy and time. In short, Lean is not just intended for manufacturing companies but is also applicable to organizations of all kinds and types.
Are Lean beneficial to your company? I would like to challenge you to stroll through your workplace. Discuss with employees their problems and their frustrations. Examine the processes and identify the potential areas including excess inventory, customers moving back and forth between locations to complete the task, low inventory conditions, chaos and unplanned downtime security risks, irregular workflow, high volume of returns, or the frequency of customer service calls, as well as the lack of organization for equipment and equipment. Also, be aware of the attitude of employees and their participation in the improvement of quality. As of now, we aren’t identifying the crucial ones that you will need to start implementing Lean procedures and management. We’re just trying to determine if it’s worthwhile to take the next steps in your Lean journey. When you’ve made your list, you can relax sipping a cup of tea or tea and think about the importance of process improvement as well as the shift into a Lean culture. I’m sure you’ll agree that your business can profit from Lean.
Note: Resources to get started using LEAN:
Liker, Jeffery K (2004). The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles of the World’s Leading Manufacturer. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Mann, David, (2010). The Lean Culture of Creating Tools to sustain lean conversions (3rd Version), Boca Raton: CRC Press.
Rother, Mike, (2010). Toyota KATA: Managing People to Improve, Adapt and Superior Performance. New York: McGraw-Hill
For more information, you can read one of the recommended books below. And then tune in to our Thursday podcast, which began on the 19th of October and is published via our website. Keep an eye out for our bi-weekly blog articles.