Lean Methodology Explained: Everything You Need To Know

Lean Methodology Explained: Everything You Need To Know

Lean methodology is used to increase value for the customer, by appropriate optimization of resources and general effort of your organization. What are the fundamentals of Lean and why it's essential to make use of them? 

Keyword(s): Lean Methodology

What is Lean methodology?

Lean methodology relies on two guiding rules:

  •  Continuous improvement;
  •  Respect for individuals.

Teams worldwide use Lean methodology to deliver high-quality value to customers and create healthier, more efficient organizations. Lean methodology initially was used in Japan at Toyota Production System. Now it has made its way into business field, worldwide - facilitating work in lots of companies around the world. 

What are the fundeamentals of Lean methodology?

The main idea of Lean methodology is to eliminate waste. However, this statement is insufficient and does not provide a complete definition of Lean. Fundamentally, this method's aim is to maintain continuous improvement. Lean experts, who introduced the methodology to the world, specified 5 major princriples of Lean, which are: 

  • Value: Understand what customers value in a product or service
  • Value Stream: What goes into maximizing value and eliminating waste throughout the entire process from design to production
  • Flow: All product processes flow and synchronizes seamlessly with each other
  • Pull: Flow is made possible by “pull,” or the idea that nothing is made before it is needed, thereby creating shorter delivery cycles
  • Perfection: Relentlessly pursue perfection by constantly engaging the problem-solving process

The concept behind these rules is to refine internal processes as much as it's possible in order to ensure customers that the value they receive is the very best possible, both in product and service area. All the things that don't contribute to the product's value should be quickly considered as ineffiecient.

Lean Management

How To Avoid Waste?

Another important aspect of Lean is its definition of waste (aiming to avoid it). There are 8 types of waste amongst Lean methodology, which are:

  • Motion: Unnecessary movement of people or processes (equipment and manufacturing machinery, for example). Repetitive movements that do not add value translates to wasted time and resources.
  • Over-processing: Doing unnecessary processes or steps than what is required to create a valuable product.
  • Extra-processing: Products require more work or quality than necessary to deliver value to the customer.
  • Defects: Manufacturing processes create defective products — which becomes wasted materials.
  • Transport: Like motion, but over greater distances to include the transport of tools, inventory, people, or products further than necessary.
  • Human Potential: Underused skills and talent due to poor employee management and team structure lead to a lack of morale and productivity.
  • Waiting: Idle equipment and waiting on materials or equipment can slow down processes and efficiency.
  • Inventory: Excessive products and inventory take up space, reveal overproduction, and create backwork.

What makes the Lean methodology unique?

The most important aspect of Lean methodology, making it very unique, is the fact that it begins with the customer in mind. Lean methodology ensures that the customer value is the number one consideration during every step of all processes. 

Some business processes may cause barnout or disharmony between team members, which may be problematic, both for them and the business. Lean helps leaders lead their team towards increased efficiency by prioritizing people at the top of their importance hierarchy. Many Lean experts emphasize that what was in demand yesterday may not be valued tomorrow. Lean methodology is a framework allowing easy adaptation to ever-changing standards for you and your business or services.

If you are asking yourself: Should I use Lean methodology?

The answer is yes, if you want to apply Lean core principles to different situations and gain concrete and useful skills, that will make you a real professional. To master your skills within Lean practices, learn more about Lean IT courses, which will help you undesrtand the process that delivers value. 

Advised Skills Research Team - Blog Author 
The Advised Skills Research Team is a professional group dedicated to investigating and publishing information on the latest trends in technology and training.
This team delves into emerging advancements to provide valuable insights, empowering individuals and organizations to stay ahead.
Their work significantly contributes to the ever-evolving landscape of technological education and workforce development.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

  1. What is Lean Methodology?
    Lean Methodology is a systematic approach used in business to minimize waste and maximize customer value without compromising on productivity. It was initially developed and used by Toyota in their production systems, but has since been applied to various sectors such as healthcare, construction, and software development.
  2. How does Lean Methodology improve business efficiency?
    Lean Methodology improves business efficiency by focusing on customer value and continuously striving to eliminate waste in processes. By aligning operations more closely with customer needs, businesses can reduce costs and improve service delivery. Additionally, the Lean approach encourages continuous improvement, leading to ongoing efficiencies and innovation over time.
  3. Is Lean Methodology applicable only in manufacturing sectors?
    While Lean Methodology originated in the manufacturing sector, specifically in Toyota's production system, its principles are universally applicable. Today, it is used across a broad range of sectors including healthcare, IT, services, and construction. The central idea of delivering value to customers and eliminating waste is relevant to any business or organization.
  4. What is 'Kaizen' in the context of Lean Methodology?
    'Kaizen' is a Japanese term which literally means 'change for the better'. In the context of Lean Methodology, it refers to the concept of continuous improvement. It involves every employee from all levels of an organization working together proactively to achieve regular, incremental improvements in the working process, thereby improving efficiency, productivity and quality over time.
  5. What is the role of employees in implementing Lean Methodology?
    In Lean Methodology, employees play a vital role. They are often best placed to identify areas of waste or inefficiency in their own work processes. Employees are encouraged to take ownership, suggest improvements, and participate in problem-solving. Lean organizations often foster a culture of continuous improvement where every employee's contribution is valued.
  6. Can Lean Methodology be combined with other business methodologies?
    Yes, Lean Methodology can be and often is combined with other business methodologies for enhanced results. For instance, it's frequently used alongside Six Sigma (a method focused on reducing process variation and improving quality) in an approach known as Lean Six Sigma. Lean can also complement Agile practices in software development, resulting in Lean-Agile methods. The goal is to leverage the strengths of different methodologies to meet specific business needs.
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