Lean methodology focuses on increasing customer value while increasing waste. Lean thinking as well a lean concepts can apply to both product and service-oriented businesses. Even though lean management started with manufacturing companies, service businesses still often waste time and materials. In any context, business owners should look for ways to add customer value while cutting out anything that doesn’t directly or indirectly add customer value.
One of the most common lean methodologies is lean six sigma. Six sigma comes from the idea of achieving perfection within six standard deviations. That is, there will only be defects in the product or process 99.99966%. Lean six sigma blends in the managerial and teamwork-oriented concepts of lean management. When done properly, you’ll be able to increase your profits and reduce your costs while also increasing customer satisfaction. Keep reading for an introduction to lean to learn more about what lean methodology and how to use it in your business.
The History of Lean Management
The history of lean manufacturing timeline is a long one. The general ideas have been around almost as long as the idea of manufacturing even if lean manufacturing concepts weren’t yet formalized. Henry Ford’s introduction of mass production with the Model T was one of the first uses of lean engineering from start to finish.
Toyota lean manufacturing took things to the next level. Where Ford gained efficiency through simplification and limited product options, Toyota wanted to offer a broader range of vehicles to their consumers. They studied the Ford manufacturing process to figure out how to efficiently switch between different types of production while still maintaining similar levels of volume and quality.
Over the next several decades, manufacturers of all types of products began to implement the lean methodology Toyota processes into their own manufacturing. In more recent years, lean project examples include lean software development such as lean methodology healthcare where lean principles in healthcare examples show in day to day activities similarly to virtually every other type of business.
Lean Principles and Methodology
When learning the differences of lean project management vs agile manifesto, lean methodology focuses on adding value and reducing waste in all aspects of a business. The lean principles each focus on different areas. There are different numbers of lean principles examples depending on the type of process being looked at, but the overall concept remains the same.
What are the 5 Principles of Lean
When the lean project management methodology is presented as five principles, it ties to the value stream.
- Identify the value received by the end customer
- Map the value stream to identify steps in the manufacturing or service process that don’t add value.
- Create flow by ensuring the value steps occur in tight sequence to move the finished result to the customer.
- Establish pull by making sure customers are getting value from each activity.
- Seek perfection by repeating the process until there is no waste and maximum value.
If you’re looking at lean manufacturing principles, you may see 7 lean principles instead of five. The idea is similar to the above, but the principles are reorganized to tie back to the seven wastes of lean manufacturing. The end result of these lean production methods is the same.
The Benefits of Lean Project Management
When considering implementing lean software development practices to your business process, think about the lean software development advantages and disadvantages. The major sources of lean value come from reduced waste, more efficient use of infrastructure, and better customer relationships as they receive more value themselves. The possible disadvantages really come from the ways to implement lean project management and any lean software development waste that may not be addressed early on through clear governance.
If you streamline too much, you run the risk of not having redundant equipment or personnel if something breaks or someone is out sick. When you use lean methodology software, it’s also important not to lose sight of the human element. What a robot perceives as waste could actually be an important key to keeping your employees happy and productive and maintaining your customer relationships.
For example, to receive the full benefits of lean in healthcare, you may need to add in a little more patient face time with their doctor even if you could theoretically improve your labor hours efficiency.
Lean Education and Tools
When you’re learning about lean methodology or searching for lean thinking examples, treat it just like you would a class you took in college. Reading a lean management book pdf or lean manufacturing pdf will give you a better understanding of the high-level concepts, but you’ll need to think about how you can apply them in your daily work.
One way to do that is through lean project management certification, lean healthcare certification, or some other certificate relevant to your industry. This will show you how other people have applied lean process improvement steps in situations similar to their own. There are many resources to support your journey such as lean project management templates, lean software development books, and lean healthcare books.
There are also a number of general lean software tools, lean project management tools, as well as lean tools for healthcare. For example, Docket can help you with specific tasks such as scheduling meetings and running them efficiently. This can help you achieve lean efficiency by automating the process for you instead of you having to reinvent the wheel.