How Lean Management transform an entire organization
We are in 2017 and the competition in the technology market is tough. Lean management is allowing companies to stay competitive, being able to beat the competition every single day.
Lean originated from the Toyota Production System, which was the way Toyota found to be competitive in the Post War. Having visited USA, Taiichi Ohno recognized something in American supermarkets. The scheduling of work wasn’t driven by targets but by actual sales. This reflection was fundamental for the definition of a Pull System, which allowed Toyota to be more flexible producing only the units required and reducing the total costs of stocking.
One of the main principles of Lean is identifying value as perceived by the customer. Depending on the area you are studying, this might not be so easy to define, but once you understand what customers really want it is way more simpler to keep them happy, delivering the exact amount of value they are expecting from you.
Imagine Lean as a set of tools and principles that help you managing your projects, giving you some advantage in many situations. Two of the greatest benefits of following Lean principles are the organization inherent to the culture you’re trying to implement and the way tools integrate with each other.
Another focus of this Lean Environment is the quality of products and the continuous improvement associated. One time is enough if you do it right the first time. According with Lean, one of the worst wastes is the rework, and people are doing it all the time. Some years ago, it wouldn’t shock you if the product you would buy wasn’t working properly, you would go to the store and they would change for a new one. Nowadays, customers are much more demanding and don’t even expect anything but a product completely operational. Lean principles and methodologies helped many companies in the last decades to reach a high level of quality, mitigating this reality I mentioned.
Lean thinking is one of the effective way to transform the way organizations operate. Sometimes people face processes that are done the same way for years and nobody stops to rethink the whole process. Technology changed the way people work and you really need to question yourself if you’re doing it the right way.
Lean organizations encourage their people to improve continuously by giving them the chance and resources to implement new ways to operate. This kind of proactive action definitely requires a safe environment where people are not afraid of trying new techniques. This culture needs to be managed by a Lean Leader who has to be always available to help, not only implementing but also making sure the organization follow the changes and contributes to integrate the change in company’s culture.
There is usually a strong resistance to change for many people that wouldn’t mind keeping the Status Quo. This resistance often comes from those who are going to benefit from this change, however it seems to be part of human nature to resist any type of change at all.
The people who work in a company define the organization and we must remember that people are different. To reach everyone’s attention and to change the way people see their work you should adapt your communication to every single worker, let them comfortable to ask any question and to give real feedback without any consequences.
Maybe because changing is hard for us human beings, we tend to create some resistance to that change. The reality we face today tells us that technology is improving our work exponentially, and as Peter Drucker wrote, “People have to believe that it has 10 times the advantages of what people were previously doing”. Drucker was a leader in the development of management education, created the concept of management by objectives and self-control. He also has been described as “the founder of modern administration”.
Quidgest is creating information systems that are providing data to make better decisions. These systems are one of the most flexible tools when developed according with customer needs, which is exactly what we do. The implementation of these systems may be almost a futuristic way of working for those who are used to older processes and ways to do the job.
This concept of working with the technology has been changing our jobs for better. Many people consider this evolution a threat but nowadays we already have plenty of proof that humans will become way more productive when they delegate repetitive tasks to machines. We just need to embrace the change and make the difference!
IT Management Consultant at Quidgest