Understanding lean management on a fundamental level starts by learning its core principles, and learning how to comply with them in your own work. There are various ways to deepen your understanding on the subject, but it’s something you have to keep informing yourself about on a regular basis.
That’s because lean – and lean management – is a constantly evolving field, and it’s one where you can’t really rely on your previously acquired skills to remain valid forever. You have to keep pushing yourself, and this requires persistence and motivation. If you want to get started with lean as fast as possible, you should take a look at some of the fundamental underlying principles, and ensure that you understand them in detail.
Identifying waste and removing it from the workflow is a critical element to any lean methodology. It’s not as easy as it looks though. Figuring out where waste is generated is about more than just crunching some numbers to see if your company is moving in the right direction. You have to actively question points that might impact the organization’s overall capacity to produce useful results, and address those specifically.
It can be very difficult to identify waste correctly in some environments too. This might sometimes require additional expertise, and the outlook of someone who has seen enough problems of this type in their past. Things can get even more complicated when considering the fact that waste can sometimes be inherently tied to some of the production going on at the facility in the first place.
Flow is inherently tied to waste – one of the main problems that lean philosophies are commonly trying to address. Flow is basically defined as the organization’s momentum in moving forward, and its ability to create value without any interruptions or slowdowns in the process. Flow can be extremely important to many organizations, especially those that constantly rely on a steady stream of income in order to do their work.
Flow has to be guaranteed in some way – and that’s where pull comes in. the concept of pull is closely tied to creating work that leads flow behind it. In other words, leaders should avoid certain actions that could lead to the reduction of flow in the organization, which in turn means that they need to focus on improving its pull.
This can be done in various ways. Organizing work ahead of time to ensure that you don’t do anything more than what’s necessary to drive progress forward is a good example. Addressing issues with the company’s pull is one of the top priorities of most lean managers, and there’s a good reason so much of their work is tied to that specifically.
Striving for Perfection
As a lean manager, perfection should be your ultimate goal in every aspect of your work. This might seem obvious, but it goes beyond simply delivering “good” results. You have to go out of your way to ensure that you’re meeting every possible criteria in your industry and in your organization specifically. What’s more, you have to constantly adjust those goals and keep striving for perfection in ways that did not exist before.
This can only happen by aligning your work with constant research, about your field in particular and about lean philosophies as a whole. You have to always be on the lookout for ways to improve your production capabilities and make sure that everything you do is aligned with the idea of achieving perfection in the long run.
Much like waste, value can be a bit difficult to define, especially in some industries. But improving the value delivered by your organization in its work is one of the most crucial points of developing that company in an appropriate manner. You have to identify the root elements that define the value of your work and then focus on improving those as much as possible.
There’s more to lean management than that – much more in fact. There’s a good reason why lean specialists are highly sought after and compensated so well. The field is constantly evolving, and it requires a determined, educated approach of the kind that only the best can provide. And if you’re a leader who cares about the future of your organization, it’s important to integrate those principles into its work early on.