Also known as lean production, the underlying principles were pioneered by Toyota and improve efficiency, reduce waste and increase productivity.
- Better product quality - Improved efficiency means there is less that can go wrong and frees up resources to innovate as well as work on quality control.
- Shorter lead times - By streamlining the manufacturing process, responding to changes in demand is quicker and easier.
- Sustainability - Reducing waste and being able to respond quicker to change makes a business more likely to thrive in a tough environment.
- Improved Morale - Employees know which parts of their daily routine are unnecessary or are a waste of time. Removing these improves satisfaction.
- Increased profit - More productivity, improved quality and less waste leads to a better bottom line.
How does the product help the customer or client?
This is used to determine what the product or services provides.
In summary: What, where and for whom?
Map the Value Stream
What processes are used in the business.
The end result will be a map of how the business works, which details each step of every process.
In summary: What happens and who does it?
Analyse each part of every process and look for ways to make them more efficient and reduce waste.
In summary: How can the steps be reduced to provide the best value to our customer
Look at the business from the customer point of view
When does the customer need the product? The aim is to come up with a better model which will save on space, cost, time and resources.
In summary: How can the current model be changed so that exactly what is required by the customer is there, when they need it?
Identify and then implement meaningful changes which will benefit the customer. Focus on improving the parts in each process that add value and remove those that do not.
In summary: Were the changes made and did they result in measureable improvements in efficiency? What other changes can be made to bring value to customers?
The journey towards perfection or continuous improvement, is what is most important. Lean methodology is deliberately cyclical, the business approach needs to be regularly reviewed, leading to further efficiencies and improvements.