Doing More with Less
Lean thinking is about ‘doing more with less.” The focus is on removing steps within your processes that are unnecessary and do not add value. Lean thinking is equally applicable to manufacturing and service organizations.
Many organizations in today’s world have faced a similar do-more-with-less challenge. Interestingly, those who have successfully met it, regardless of industry, share one thing in common – the focus on process improvement. This approach to improving performance (doing more) while using the minimum amount of precious resources (with less) has been nicknamed “Lean” by researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for its ability to do just that. Lean Process Improvement does NOT equate to layoffs or downsizing. Rather, the Lean Approach focuses on doing more with existing resources.
Everything we do, whether in our personal life or work life, is a function of process – making a sandwich, conducting a meeting, preparing a report – they all are processes. Each process is made up of a series of discrete steps that include a defined beginning step, a defined end step, and multiple steps between the two. This series of process steps yields an intended result (product or service) that is desired (valued) by someone (customer). The important relationship among customer, value, and process distinguishes the Lean philosophy from other process improvement philosophies.
Lean is a program of organizational improvement that empowers every worker in your organization. The essence of lean thinking is to engage all your employees responsible for the work in redesigning it, keeping in mind the need to provide the best possible product or service to your customers, and to increase their personal performance and job satisfaction through process improvement. Lean engages everyone in streamlining their work processes by identifying and eliminating the steps within the process that are wasteful (do not add value).
Keep this premise of doing more with less in mind when you are considering adding that new piece of equipment or expanding your operation to increase capacity—Think Lean. Do I really need that additional equipment or building expansion? Can I remove unnecessary steps or other wasteful activities to streamline my processes and increase capacity—do more with less.
Lean Helps Small Company Do More With Less
“They have freed up a huge block in the middle of their mechanical assembly production floor and are doing the same amount of work in 9,000 square feet of space as they were doing two years ago in 20,000 square feet. This gives them the ability to put an additional line in on short notice.”
Willie Carter began his career as a paint chemist at a Akzo Nobel subsidiary in suburban Chicago where his love for manufacturing began. Over the years his career has taken him to work with numerous SMEs to Fortune 500 companies in assisting them with optimizing their operations and administrative functions through continuous process improvement techniques. Carter is currently serving as president of Quantum Associates, Inc, which specializes in optimizing business processes to minimize costs, accelerate cycle times and improve efficiency. The company’s overarching goal is to help clients do more with less. Carter holds a BA in Chemistry as well as an MBA. He holds certifications as Lean Sensei, Manager of Quality and Organizational Excellence and ISO 9000 Lead Assessor. He is also the author of Process Improvement for Administrative Departments: The Key to Internal Customer Satisfaction.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone- 847-919-6127.