Prior to actually making changes we need to look at the thought processes that will help guide us through the identification of waste and the implementation of change.
First, let’s take a look at what you are you TRULY trying to accomplish when “becoming lean”? The definition is to simply create more value for our customers with the use of fewer resources.
Keep in mind that we all have 2 customers (the internal customer AND the external customer) – I say this because I hear over and over again about the external customer and sometimes we forget that everyone on the team is an internal customer and we must not forget them.
I would also suggest that you only try to change one thing at a time. Since lean is a true journey of improvement, maybe alternate between what can we improve “internally” and what can we improve “externally”. This way both staff and customers can enjoy the benefits of improvement ongoing.
Step 1 – Identify the specific value from the standpoint of the customer
Step 2 – Identify all of the steps in the process (stream) that lead to producing the desired end result.
Step 3 – Identify any and all of the steps in that process that can be eliminated (or automated) without reducing the value or changing the end result to the customer.
Step 4 – Make the steps occur in a tight sequence of stages in order that you create an “even flow” to the end result.
Let’s take a moment to think about two rivers each one is the same length. One has rocks and boulders in it. The water must continuously detour around them and continuously change direction to get to the lake. The other river is a straight man-made river with smooth sides and has no boulders or rocks. Which one do you think will flow faster? What do you need to do to remove your obstacles?