‘Lean’ has become a popular terminology for change in today’s corporate culture. The creation of Lean Manufacturing was originally created to reduce waste and improve quality. Today, these Lean Management principles are widely used throughout business and you may have recently heard Japanese terms such as Kaisen, Kanban and Muda. These Japanese terms simply mean Continuous Improvement, Pull systems, and Non value-added work. These are some of the popular terms used to express Lean thinking approach.
So, how can this process improvement technique be adapted to the service industry, and any other business?
The answer is that ‘Lean’ is a way to reduce waste (called Muda in Japanese) using an approach that revolves around creating value for your customers. The Lean approach has 5 major categories:
2. Value Stream
Employees may often say, “I don’t know why I do that” or “we’ve always done it this way”. Sometimes, it takes an outside point of view to question their status quo – that’s why Westlund Consulting acts as your unbiased, objective lean six sigma expert.
Additionally, marrying “lean” with the Six Sigma approach further bolsters the “lean” philosophy. Six Sigma is an analytical methodology to performance improvement and the methodology of Six Sigma is referred to as DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve & Control). Achieving the Six Sigma standard means reducing errors to as few as 3.4 defects per million opportunities. Using the Six Sigma approach, Westlund Consulting looks at the Cost of Poor Quality in your operation and then uses DMAIC to increase performance quality and reduce costs.
Lean and Six Sigma use Root Cause Analysis techniques like the ‘5 Whys’ to get to the core of problems. In short, Westlund Consulting, with the help of Lean Six Sigma, treats the disease, not just symptoms.
Westlund Consulting observes and documents your business’ critical processes to determine if they are designed and execute at maximum efficiency. We begin by developing simple, customer-focused process maps and work directly with your staff to develop a leaner, more efficient process. Once completed, the new process is presented to you for official approval through your business’ compliance process.
We also understand that there may be customers who are concerned that their industry may be too heavily regulated and that the process of making “lean” improvements would not be possible, however, Westlund Consulting’s approach makes it easy. We have seasoned consultants who walk folks through the process step by step, and at the end of the day, both employees and management see the value of applying the “lean” approach.