Business Improvement is a growing trend in organisations around the world (as we previously explored in this infographic) and that’s fantastic. It means companies are gaining the skills they need to make them more productive and more profitable, without significant capital investment. And that is a powerful proposition in today’s economy, where budgets are tight and margins are squeezed.
However, the flip side of an increase in uptake is the rise of myths and misconceptions. People feel they understand Lean because they went to a 30 minute seminar 12 months ago, or because Dave in their department has taken some training and now they have a shadow board in the stationary cupboard.
The trouble is; Lean is not a few tools you can use now and then; Lean isn’t running a Kaizen event for every problem; and it’s certainly not having a poster of the seven wastes in your office that everyone ignores (although we have one of those if you’re in the market for one).
What does it mean?
If you are planning to become a Lean or Lean Six Sigma organisation, it involves a sea-change in the culture of your company. A complete change in focus from sales or production, to understanding the needs of the customer and ensuring those are met.
Your training then gives you the skills to do that; enabling you to increase quality so that your complaints go down, or increase productivity in order to reduce the lead time and get your product to your customer faster. The power of Lean Six Sigma is that if changes your focus – as an organisation – into one of continuous improvement so that the doors are open to discussion, altering process and creativity. That is hugely empowering to staff.
Empower your team
True Lean or Lean Six Sigma companies not only have lower costs and higher quality, they also have happier staff as all employees feel they are able to make suggestions that improve their working environment. The idea that people are to blame is eradicated, and instead employees and managers understand that it is processes that need improving.
But for that to happen, everyone needs to be trained in the basics of Business Improvement, and everyone needs to put their own agenda aside in order to focus on the voice of the customer. That is challenging, and that is (unfortunately) why Lean is often boiled down to buzzwords that make little sense out of context.
If you want to learn how Lean or Lean Six Sigma can have a powerful impact on your company, get in touch with us today.