What Is Lean Management? - Lean Management Principles

10 March, 2021


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What Is Lean Management

Lean management is an essential tool that aims to organize and manage a company's workflow for its growth. There's no surprise that Lean management is now widespread across industries. It has become a universal management tool because of its core values and positive impact on a company’s overall performance. 

If you are a business, then you can apply the Lean concept from manufacturing to marketing. There are three straightforward ideas of Lean methodology:

  1. Deliver values from the perspective of a customer

  2. Eliminate the things that don't bring value to a final product

  3. Constant Improvement

Now, when you have a basic Lean Management concept, let's know more about the Lean principles. 

Concept Of Lean Principles

Before knowing the fundamental Lean Principles, you must remember that it is all about constant workflow, people, and purposes.

Lean management focuses on shared leadership and shared responsibility instead of holding the work process's total control. Hence the two central pillars of Lean management are:

  • Constant Improvement

  • Respect For People

Lean believes that a good idea can come from any level of the hierarchy. Thus, it makes lean management a widely adopted concept across various industries. However, the idea of Lean is originally derived from the Toyota Production System. 

5 Basic Lean Principles

1.Identification Of The Values

Every company strives to offer a product or service that a customer will pay for. To do that, a company must add value defined by its customers' needs. The more you solve your customers' problems, the more the value of your company will increase. Your customer will pay for the importance of your company. Therefore, any service or product that doesn't bring value to your company is a waste. 

Thus, identify the values that you want to deliver to proceed to the next step. 

2.Value Stream Mapping

In this part, you will have to map your company's workflow. It includes all the people and their actions, from manufacturing to delivering a final product to your customers. It will help you to identify the parts of the whole process that don't bring value. 

Apply the Lean principles to map the value stream. It will help you to know where your company is generating value and where not. Once you are done with the value stream mapping, it will be easier for you to understand which team is responsible for measuring, evaluating, and improving the process. 

3.Create Constant Workflow

After mastering your company’s value stream, you need to ensure that each team’s workflow is smooth. Don't worry if it takes time. Cross-functional teamwork is often required to develop a new product or service. During that time, many interruptions and bottlenecks may appear. However, you can divide the responsibilities into small groups for better visualization, which will help you detect roadblocks and remove them quickly. 

4.Establish A Pull System

A stable workflow means that your teams are delivering tasks much faster with minimal effort. However, when it comes to Lean methodology, ensure that you establish a pull system to get a stable workflow. 

A pull system is when you deliver a product or service if there's a demand for it. It will enable you to optimize your resources' capacity and make a finished product when there's a demand. 

For example, you go to a restaurant and order a burger. The waiter will pull your order, and they start making a burger for you. They will not prepare a ton of burgers in advance because there's no demand for it, and those burgers can turn into wastes. 

5.Continuous Improvement

If you have completed the steps mentioned above, then you have already built a Lean management system. But, this last step is crucial, which you mustn't forget to pay attention to. 

It would be best if you didn't forget that your system will not improve by itself. Problems will occur at any point during these steps. Hence, you need to ensure that employees on each level are working continuously to improve the process. 

Various techniques encourage constant improvement. Try to implement them, and don't leave your system isolated and static. 

Tools For Lean Management

  • The Six Sigma Method improves the process, efficiency, and quality.

  • The 5S Method reduces wasted time and improves the working environment.

  • The Kaizen Method continuously improves all the processes.

  • The Kanban Method optimizes inventory management.

  • Visual Management helps to share information across departments and solve problems.

  • The Value-Stream Mapping Method analyses all the processes and identifies the roadblocks. 

Lean management is more of a guide that helps increase a company's professionalism and enthusiasm. Though it was born in the automotive industry, Lean management has become a universal tool that businesses of all sizes and sectors are using. 

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