The principles of LEAN have been around for many years now however, how many organisations are truly applying continuous improvement as a natural way of working and across the whole business.
There are many different training courses out there that will provide training at whatever level you require ranging from one or two day introductions to 10 to 15 day programmes to build your knowledge to an expert level. But what happens next?
More often than not, the Principles of LEAN will be applied to a specific project or department in the business for few months and then the process and skills become neglected until next time.
To fully embed a LEAN culture a business and its employees must go on a culture change journey that involves a number of different interventions and actions that are well led and supported by key stakeholders. Like any good change process the organisation should identify change agents at all levels and in all roles and ideally select those people who will act as good advocates who can help communicate how LEAN will be applied and benefits that it will bring. The constant engagement and education of all employees will be essential in the successful introduction, implementation and sustainability of this new way of thinking and working.
Prior to any changes being introduced or training and development taking place the business should identify key operational projects / areas where the new skills and knowledge learnt can be put into practice and potentially where there are some quick gains / wins to be had.
It is during these projects that employees realise the true benefits of LEAN. It is highly likely that the application will need to be reinforcement in the early stages but with the correct level of support and in good time the principles will become a natural and effective way of operating.
LEAN is a vast subject and there is plenty to learn but application is key and it is normally some of the small changes that can have the greatest and most significant impact on operations.