Lean is a systematic approach to process optimisation based on the premise that no matter where the work is done, some amount of waste (non-value add effort) is generated.
The goal of Lean is total elimination of waste. It is achieved through:
• Identifying the sources
• Planning for waste elimination
• Using Lean, Process Management and Six Sigma
• Establishing “permanent” controls that prevent re-occurrence
The first step to achieve waste elimination is to identify waste.
The essence of Lean is to concentrate effort on removing waste while improving process flow to achieve speed and waste reduction at lower cost. The focus of Lean is to increase the percentage of value-added work performed by a company. Most businesses spend a relatively small portion of their energies on the delivery of value to a customer. Lean helps to regain that focus and to let it stay to achieve enhancement in the end value of a product/service.
It is estimated for some companies spend as little as 10% of their time on value addition. It means that as much as 90% of the time is allocated to activities that do not add anything to the value of the end product/service. Such activities are considered waste under Lean. The forms of waste include wasted capital (inventory), wasted material (scrap), wasted time (cycle time), wasted human effort (inefficiency, rework) and wasted energy (energy inefficiency).
Lean achieves fast improvements across a variety of processes from the administrative to the manufacturing departments.
Training in Lean enables your company to identify the pockets of waste and eliminate waste from the root. It also provides the tools to make improvements on the spot. Lean focuses on the Value Stream, the sequence of activities and work required to produce a product or provide a service. It is similar to a Linear Process Flow Map, but contains its own unique symbols and data.
The Lean method is based on understanding how the Value Stream is organised, how work is performed, which work is value added and which non-value added, and what happens to products/services and information as they flow through the Value Stream.
Lean identifies and eliminates waste through simple and effective tools.
Lean removes many forms of waste so that Six Sigma can focus on eliminating variability. Variations lead to defects, which is a major source of waste. Six Sigma is a method to make processes more capable by the reduction of variations. Thus the symbiotic relationship between the two methodologies.