Let’s design a better tomorrow and see better results
Customer-focused process improvement driven by lean
Can Lean Help My Business?
Simply put, lean can help any business be better. The purpose of lean is to minimize waste, which in turn reduces costs and maximizes productivity. While waste elimination can benefit the bottom-line, increased productivity improves the bottom-line and the customer. In today’s world of “get it tomorrow,” you need systems that enable a customer’s need to be met in the timeframe expected.
Lean versus Agile?
Our clients ranging from manufacturers to restaurant chains have benefited from lean management and agile. Both methodologies have proven their worth as integrated systems for helping improve performance. In today’s ever-changing environment, both are required.
The mistake we find many leaders and organizations making is believing they need to choose between the two. In fact, that’s not true. Not only is choosing unnecessary, but the two methodologies complement one another in ways that increase the impact they generate, often by deploying Industry 4.0 technologies to speed transformation. Under this best-of-both approach, top-performing companies combine tools, ways of working, and organizational elements from each to form a custom solution that meets the company’s unique needs more completely and quickly than has been possible.
What are the benefits for implementing lean?
The benefits of lean practices are manifold. Lean can be applied to any type of business, because all businesses have processes and customers. While their importance may differ between organizations, here are five that are key to all that implement lean.
- Improved quality: Implementing lean practices inevitably leads to quality improvement, as workers freed from the demands of the eight wastes have time to focus on quality. As problems are identified, root cause analysis and innovative problem-solving resolve and eliminate issues.
- Improved lead time: With lean, a company doesn’t horde excessive inventory or carry out unnecessary steps or processes. It is relatively easy to switch production from one product to another. This all helps to speed up the production process, resulting in improved lead times.
- Improved customer service: Customers are at the heart of lean practices; their feedback about how they use and benefit from the product (or otherwise) help drive the elimination of waste. With time and effort focused on those things that add value for a customer, customer service inevitably improves.
- Increased employee morale: Lean facilitates improved communication between management and workforce, and encourages discussion about work and processes. Workers know their experience and opinion are valued, and they will be listened to. This involvement, and empowerment to contribute to progress and decision-making, helps build the team and boost morale.
- Decreased inventory costs: Lean practices help to reduce costs and boost productivity by eliminating waste. Unnecessary processes are eradicated and the focus is firmly on those things that will add value to the customer. This, in turn, maximizes profitI
We cannot become who we want to be by remaining what we are. – Max Depree
Innovation to Drive Process Improvement
Innovation is difficult for any company. It is risky and deprives sleep. To compete in today’s market, you need to re-invent processes, which means recognizing where you are in relation to your customer’s needs and the market conditions. The right product/service, coupled with speed to market, will determine your success.
What drives the need for improving processes? One of three things has occurred:
- You market has shifted necessitating new ideas to meet the customer’s needs
- You recognized bottlenecks or inconsistent delivery of products or services
- Your competition is winning
Lean is a dynamic system. It seeks to act proactively to improve and innovate, and it also acts retroactively if problems are identified that cause adverse outcomes. Lean avoids complacency with regard to the status quo, instead seeking to look critically at processes and procedures and implement improvements – large or small – that will benefit the profitability of the organization.
Lean thrives on continuous improvement and innovation.
Innovation is not about optimizing gross margins but about finding new ways to create more value. Most businesses struggle because they are better executors than innovators. There are options, so let’s discuss.
Creativity is thinking new things, but innovation is doing new things.
Training to Drive Process Improvement
The people who will be affected by lean need to fully understand the concept, why change is happening, and how they and the organization will benefit. Lean isn’t a quick fix, it’s a culture change. Helping people to understand this and embrace the principles is essential. Failure will result in resistance.
Training is the most underutilized tool to improve consistency, quality, and bottom-line results. Training must be agile and able to adapt to changes that occur. Don’t take days in creating simple training…spend hours. As much as possible, keep it visual with step-by-step narration. Demonstrate the desired behaviors and create feed-back-loops to validate the desired behavior.
How can you best utilize training and do it effectively? Here are 4 key steps:
- Have the subject experts validate each step in all processes
- Visually capture each step of the process.
- Place the visual captured element in a tool where you can add questions to validate knowledge transfer
- Create feedback loops to ensure consistency
Training serves two key purposes: To create desired behaviors or to correct bad behaviors for desired outcomes. Keep it simple with quick, easy access for teaching moments.
We train to see consistent, desired behaviors and consistent, desired results.
The need to constantly innovate
Innovation is not easy, but it is a necessity. Why? Because products and services have an expiration date.
Mitch Smith, President of Rootloud, delivers this edited keynote to the Telecom Executives Annual Meeting on the 2 key areas of innovation to scale your organization.
Design Thinking for Process Improvement
- Clear understanding of the client’s pain.
- Defined look at the problem in human ways.
- Creation of ideas in ideation sessions.
- Prototype(s) design of solution.
- Prototype test to validate and improve. We call this MVP1 (your first minimum viable product).
How we help your Idea
- Design Thinking Workshop
- Minimum Viable Product Design and Prototype
- Focus Groups
- Business Model Design
- Data Modeling
- Software/Product Design
- Executive Guidance