Considering the ‘lean journey’ is becoming an essential part of any organisation's plan for process improvement. Businesses are realising that lean is a commitment, a journey that takes your organisation to new levels of efficiency and smart thinking at every stage.
Why Take the Journey?
At last week’s Enterprise Excellence Ireland 2018 conference, the phrase “lean journey” came up in nearly every speaker’s presentation. With good reason too - it’s a crucial factor for anyone who wants to get involved with lean.
Don’t be put off at the thoughts of committing to a journey. You’re already on a journey, whether in your daily role or your business as a whole. If you’re reading about lean, it’s a strong bet that you’re looking for ways to improve.
Would you rather stay on a “firefighting” journey, running fast, endlessly busy but getting nowhere, or commit to a long-term plan that will consistently identify areas for improvement and help you work smarter?
It’s also worth noting that although you’ll always be on your lean journey, you’ll be reaping its rewards from an early point, and consistently along the way.
How can you get started on your lean journey?
It is often said that “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. OK, it’s an overused quote, but only because it contains more than a grain of truth.
If you’re feeling daunted by this “journey” ahead of you, you can think of reading this article as your first step. An interest in and awareness of Lean is the ideal starting point.
Take further steps by researching the basics of lean principles and origins, to begin building an image of what it will look like in your organisation.
Essentials for the Journey
Next, it’s important to identify what you’ll need for the trip. No two organisations go on exactly the same journey, as factors unique to your business will guide each element of the journey.
However, there are some key factors every journey requires:
This is crucial, and must be unanimous. Time and time again, we’ve heard it reinforced that companies where leadership teams have embraced and committed to a lean journey are the most successful.
Commitment to lean begins with the leadership team. This is your foundation for building a more streamlined, thriving business.
Champions and Mentors
Many lean success stories we’ve heard have a very important common element - an in-house team dedicated to championing lean practices and culture, who also mentor and coach all team members throughout their lean journey.
Mission and Vision
Once your leadership team is on board, get really clear about what you want to achieve.
Take time to identify what’s most important to your company. Where is the biggest need for improvement? What do you want to achieve?
A focused workshop with guidance from an experienced trainer can help your leadership team really get to the core of your lean mission statement.
You can’t force people to “be lean”. They need to understand it, and want to adopt this new way of thinking.
There are many ways of getting your team engaged on the lean journey - training and certification, communication, brainstorming workshops, reward systems.
All of these elements combine to nurture a ‘lean culture’. As you continue on your journey, maintaining an active lean culture will be key to your continued success.
Question: When does going round in circles equal progress?
Answer: When you’re on a Lean Journey!
Developing and refining your strategy will be an ongoing process at all times. Lean is part of a ‘continuous improvement’ philosophy, meaning that it’s iterative and perpetually in motion.
Throughout this transformation, you’ll become very familiar with the DMAIC Cycle, which is at the heart of Lean Thinking.
A large part of any process improvement undertaking involves everyone speaking the same language, using the same tools to work towards a clearly defined goal.
Lean Six Sigma Training to certified standards, and consistent channels of communication contribute to achieving this goal.
How to make it all work
You may be thinking “everything above makes sense but….how can I actually put this into action, implementing each step correctly?”
Your Individual Lean Journey
Lean Six Sigma Green Belt
If you’re someone who wants to start exploring lean and process improvement within their own career and role, we recommend taking a look at our Certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt for Business.
This course is perfect for getting to grips with how lean works, and understanding the ways in which you can contribute to process improvement projects. It also leads to respected certification.
Lean Six Sigma Black Belt
Black Belt training and certification is ideal for those who have experience with lean, six sigma, or process improvement.
Black Belts drive sustainable process improvement within an organisation. They can achieve higher levels of savings and improvements .
Your Organisation’s Lean Journey
We work with businesses of all sizes and within all sectors, offering a fully-rounded lean journey solution.
We can guide you from initial stages of creating a vision and strategy for lean in our business, through training the team at all levels, and sustaining your process improvement culture.