Friday, December 28, 2007

Lean Enterprise! What’s it all about?

Is your company meeting the demands of customers while increasing market share and profits?
It’s amazing how many companies actually gloss over the obvious. Many businesses are moving through each day, dealing with one crisis after the next. They’ve become addicted to using fire fighting techniques to maintain the status quo, Anyone who can consistently step up to put out the fire to save the day is declared a hero. However, the same problems still occur day after day.

How many companies are willing to admit they're failing to meet customer expectations? I’ve not found many who will say it outright during my years of experience. Most are happy to live in absolute denial and oblivious to the facts until they hit that "pain point of realization". Many companies are facing the most crucial challenge to their very survival. Business and manufacturing technologies of the 20th century are no longer capable of meeting the challenges of the 21st century. Customers are now demanding more from their suppliers. There are many more choices available when deciding if a company is capable of meeting their supply needs.

Many organizations still hold fast to the belief that if they just work harder, they can improve things. This belief is not true. Hard work alone will not cut it in today’s global economy. Only when an organization starts to energize its employees, by unleashing their creativity to work smarter will they start to see massive change. Companies, who continue to focus their most valuable resource on survival tactics, by forcing them to work harder, will lose them faster.

Finding solutions to challenges requires a business to find answers to these key questions:

  • What is the core skills capability within your company that sets it apart from others in your field?
  • How can you best utilize these core skills to focus your business processes?
  • How does a company grow in a highly volatile world market and still meet customer demand?
  • How do you deliver a product or service faster and still maintain an acceptable level of quality?
  • How do you reduce excessive inventory levels and continue to maintain customer satisfaction?
  • How do you reduce operating costs, allowing you to become more competitive?

There is a simple solution to address all of the above questions and it can put your business way ahead of the competition: Become a Lean Enterprise by implementing and integrating lean techniques into your business model. It does not matter if you’re a manufacturing or non-manufacturing company. Anyone can use lean techniques to improve their business processes.Lean is a journey. Enjoy the trip.

Chris Turner

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Lean Enterprise in 10 Easy Steps

The way to successfully implement some thing is to break it down into smaller chunks of activity. In doing this the brain can come to terms with what is being asked of it and how it all fits together. Implementing Lean principles falls under the same process. It's to big for most people to get their heads around, so I break it down into easily understood steps. Here are the 10 implementation steps to become a Lean Enterprise.

Step 1 - Strategy Deployment.
Step 2 - Value Stream Mapping.
Step 3 - Workplace Organization.
Step 4 - Process Flow.
Step 5 - Quick Changeover.
Step 6 - Pull System.
Step 7 - Balanced Workload.
Step 8 - Standard Work
Step 9 - Continuous Improvement.
Step 10 - Extend Lean into Supply Chain.

Over the coming weeks I will be going into more detail with each step. Enjoy the blog. Don't forget to visit our here

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Sharing idea's

It's great to share ideas about how to improve day to day activities so we create a positive experience every time we do them. It's always great to receive advice from someone who has already experienced a problem and found a way to overcome it. It could be advice from a friend about a special recipe, gardening technique or an ideal vacation spot. It could be advice from a professional about retirement, investing or financial issues. We really appreciate hearing from other people and learning from their personal experiences.

In a business environment, it’s even more important to share ideas. It's really important to find ways to improve your processes on a consistent basis. It’s the only way to stay ahead of the competition. How do you do this? Well, here are two simple ideas to get you started:

1. When your employees turn up for work every day, encourage them to turn on their creativity at the same time. So many companies have underutilized people sitting around focusing their skills on unnecessary tasks. In many cases employees are not allowed to express innovation or ideas about how to improve their work environment. An organization that can't integrate great ideas from its own employees is doomed to failure in the long term. These people experience real operational issues day in, day out and they understand there’s a need for change. It’s the responsibility of executive management to implement a process that allows these great ideas to be collected, investigated and converted into breakthrough improvements which positively affect bottom line results.

2. Develop a clear understanding of the connection between customer satisfaction and profit. Many companies focus their valuable resources on improving their own internal business functions. However, this does nothing for their customers. If your improvements don’t increase value by reducing costs, lead time, and quality issues, the customer will end up paying more for your products. Improve customer satisfaction and create happy customers, who will continue to do repeat business. Increasing profits are the reward for high customer satisfaction. Unhappy customers on the other hand will only continue to do business until they find a better alternative. They could eventually be directed towards one of your competitors which will reduce market share and profits. Focus your resources on becoming a more effective supplier and improving customer satisfaction, not on efficiency.

Does your company follow these two very simple ideas? If they don’t, then every day they’re losing out to other companies who are using them. Doing nothing, changes nothing, implementing small changes over time deliver greater results.
“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” – George Bernard Shaw.