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 all around the world are using Lean methodology to achieve the goal of delivering top quality value to their customers and building more healthy and better working 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 most common statement specifying Lean methodology is "eliminating waste", altough it doesn's say enough and it isn't appropriate 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.

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 to ensure their team they will be lead towards increasing efficiency, as Lean leaders put people at the top of their hierarchy of importance. Many Lean experts underline: What was in demand yesterday, might 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 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. 

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