In last few days I have been fortunate enough to participate in the workshop for LEAN service framework. And thus, I am trying to share my experiences and learning on LEAN here.
The LEAN framework originates from the manufacturing system developed by Toyota called Toyota Production System [TPS] that pursues the principle of optimum streamlining throughout the entire system through the thorough elimination of waste and aims to build quality in at the manufacturing process while recognizing the principle of [ongoing] cost reduction. It also includes all the accompanying technology & tools necessary to accomplish those aims. [Reference .. here]
The process that Toyota developed for Just-in-time production was called TPS until 1990. MIT researchers tossed the term LEAN in their 1990 book called “The Machine that Changed the World” to describe the principles of Toyota Production System. Thereafter, of course, the process was known to the world as LEAN Service Framework.
In a nutshell,
LEAN is an integrated system of principles, work practices & processes that empowers the operational users to drive the relentless pursuit of perfect customer value creation.
Although LEAN was innovated and started in the manufacturing industry and especially at Toyota, it, over the years grown out of the manufacturing industry and into other verticals, not to mention the IT/BPO industry.
LEAN underpins 5 principles in the framework as follows,
Eliminate Waste – As per the LEAN principles, the waste could be due to the idle time spent by the employees waiting for work, or spending extra hours to exceed customer expectations (without customer asking for it), excessive testing etc., activities and all such activities that do not add add direct value to the customers.
Eliminate Variability – This talks more about complexity of the work within the team. LEAN suggests eliminating the variability of work done by the employees so that activities & individual performances are streamlined to carry out typical activities. This also talks about the external work that comes within such as ticket trend, business requirements etc., and suggests to streamline.
Eliminate Inflexibility – This suggest more about the resources capacity and the work segmentation and align the efforts and create skill pools so as to better utilize the knowledge, performance & work practices against repetitive / common tasks.
Performance Management – LEAN suggests to compute the performance of the individuals as well as the team and making the results publish to the individuals / teams and discuss with them on a regular basis. LEAN recommends that regular performance discussions enhances the team morale, gives them goal to enhance performances etc.,
Involvement of workers – LEAN, more than a process is more of a philosophy and change in the thinking of the workforce and suggest to have the workforce participate and understand these principles so they themselves are aware of the waste being created around they can eliminate themselves.
Many IT companies have implemented LEAN successfully. IBM has been doing the LEAN implementation for the customers since last 3+ years. Over the years, being LEAN organization has been a selling point for the IT vendors and equally the customers have been demanding.
The benefits of LEAN include reduce waste, reduction of inventory costs, cross trained employees, reduced cycle time & obsolescence, high quality & reliability and may more.
This, of course was a drop in the ocean of the knowledge of the LEAN framework, even for me. If you are interested in knowing more and reading more, suggesting the following reading
Bye the way, if you have read the above carefully, the following video might tell you something. Have a look (with audio ON) and let me know what you think ?