What in the world is LEAN Management?
I’m asked all the time about how one can get into process improvement and become a Green Belt (no, not karate). Green belt is essentially the intermediate level of credentialing in the process improvement world. Typically a week long class with an attached project. This credential says that you know about Lean Management–a methodology about removing waste from your processes.
Although this sounds like some nice resume fodder, it shouldn’t be your goal when it comes to stopping those pain in the ass processes that plague your organization.
Frankly, when you want to find ways to save time and money, all you have to do is begin learning some of the basics to LEAN thinking.
The term “lean” is obviously deliberate as your goal is to “lean out the crap”. Believe me, there is no shortage of that going on in every single organization.
So what can you do?
Lean thinking and Lean Management is all about two things:
1.Knowing the forms of “waste”. Let’s use the acronym TIMWOOD-U to illustrate.This stands for the different types of things that can be considered waste.
Transportation, Inventory, motion, waiting, over-production, over-processing, defects and under-utilization of human potential.
Basically, if you walk too far for things, wasting money with large inventories, waiting forever for something to happen, making too much of something, adding too many steps to something, making or doing something incorrectly or simply not leveraging the talent around you.
Get it? Good!
2. Lean thinking is about knowing what waste looks like and mapping it out.
That’s right, get those stickies out! You want to grab your peers and map out each step of the pain in the ass process you can. Each sticky represents one step.
When you do this and everyone’s eyeballs are fixated on the same thing, you will definitely see waste! Remember, ask yourself, “do our customers care about this?” If the answer is no, then consider removing it from the process. Boom.
LEAN thinking is a lot more dynamic than this quick read, but if you understand those two key points and actually map out a process, I am confident that you will be saving time and money faster than the roadrunner himself. You’re the coyote and I don’t remember the coyote giving up and neither should you!
If you want to get your feet wet with some online Lean Management training, here is a good site to get started.
If you are interested in learning more about LEAN thinking, here are a couple of my favorite books on the topic.
AJ Kehl is a Lean Sig Sixma Blackbelt and has facilitated hundreds of projects around the globe. The majority
of his time in this field is through instructing Problem Identification and Green Belt curriculum. If you would like more information on Lean Thinking
or if you are interested in inviting A.J. to event, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
For other live presentation options, check out the “Live Presentations” page!