Many businesses these days are choosing to drop old habits and practices in favor of going lean. Even though certain processes and practices have worked for many years within a company, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are indeed the only and most efficient ways of doing things. When it comes to making changes, some business owners are reluctant to make needed modifications due to the comfort they experience in knowing that the business has had success so far so they figure why change things now? The truth is that many practices that were once considered effective for meeting customer needs are no longer quite as useful. As the world changes and advances, so should business practices.
For example, many years ago ice cream shops only offered a few basic flavors of ice cream such as vanilla, chocolate and strawberry and those flavors adequately met the needs of customers during that time. However, in this day and age things have changed; there are hundreds if not thousands of flavors of ice cream available, from hot chocolate fudge to vanilla bean bacon delight. Change is not only inevitable, but can also be sometimes refreshing. The lean mindset helps to place an emphasis on the goal of continuous improvement, which basically means to never stop improving. The implementation of lean strategies has proven to help save time, money, and resources. The mindset of Lean thinking focuses on the strategy of elimination to help improve overall production as well as customer satisfaction.
Where to Get Started?
In all honesty, getting started with lean may actually be the most difficult part. However, once the practices of lean are in place, you will be questioning why you hadn’t started it sooner. The first place to start implementing a lean practice is with the business leaders. Without the top leaders on board, the execution of lean practices will most likely fail. Going lean really has to be a cohesive group effort; everyone needs to be on board to make it truly successful. Once business leaders are on board, it is time to start identifying areas that can be streamlined to improve value. It may be as simple as eliminating a large amount of unusable or damaged pallets to increase useable workspace, or as complex as redesigning an entire process line so there is less waste and a quicker turnaround time. However, all areas in the company should be value mapped for efficiency and effectiveness.
Once the practice of lean has begun, there are other similar lean-related practices that can also be implemented for even further efficiency. Some other common lean methods involve 5S, Hoshin Planning, Six Sigma, and Kaizen. Each of these are unique in the benefits they have to offer, however they all align quite well with the theory of lean and can help further streamline business practices. Going lean has never been easier and with the added help of other tactics as well, your business could be well on its way to enjoying the benefits of lean success!