Lean is “a philosophy and practice of ongoing identification and elimination of waste in the delivery of customer value by everyone in the organisation”.
Lean, as a way of thinking and ongoing improvement has been evolving for over 50 years.
In a Lean organisation the focus of everyone is on meeting customer needs and expectations.
To do this, Lean organisations design and continually improve services and processes to meet those needs with non-value-adding waste activity removed or reduced.
This practice is planned, managed and systematic and engenders a culture of “right first time, every time”, where problems and mistakes are seen as opportunities to learn and where root causes are identified and prevented from happening again. The Lean approach is systematic and scalable. The methodology can be used to deliver rapid improvement and service transformation, including shared services. In all these circumstances, projects follow clearly defined phases with well-proven Lean tools and techniques, such as ‘customer journey mapping’ and ‘value stream mapping’.
Going fully Lean requires an organisational commitment and achieving it can take a long time. However, the principles and methodology can be applied on an intervention basis for short-term gain, including making significant cashable efficiency savings.