Your Lean Journey
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.
Lean Journey Meaning
The 'Lean Journey' usually refers to the process of introducing Lean processes and a Lean culture to your organisation. However, it can also refer to your own development, learning about Lean and beginning to work with process improvement initiatives.
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Why Take the Journey?
At the Enterprise Excellence Ireland 2018 conference, almost every speaker used the phrase “Lean journey”. 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?
How can you get started?
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 and deciding on a Lean training plan for your team. This will begin building an image of what Lean will look like in your organisation or your career.
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. 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. Commitment to Lean begins with the leadership team. This is your foundation for building a more streamlined, thriving business.
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.
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.
These champions also mentor and coach all team members throughout their Lean journey.
Mission and Vision
Once your leadership team is on board, get very 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 the concept 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.
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 using the same terminology and 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.