One of the questions that I receive in my email inbox more than any other is “What is Lean Process?”
You would think that everyone would know the answer to this question, especially when we are living in the 21st century. It makes you wonder where these people that ask me this question have been living for the past few years. With companies like Toyota and GM appearing on the main news channels almost nightly for oneÂ reasonÂ or another. Did they not see the ongoing reports? Or, maybe they were focused on moreÂ importantÂ things?
It really demonstrates that people don’t find it easy to connect Â common orÂ relatedÂ events together. However, this is not a scientific study, it is based on my own observations. Why is this happening?
Well, itsÂ becauseÂ there is so much information being thrust at us from social media sites and news channels that its easy to get overwhelmed and lost in the quagmire of data. Â The sameÂ thingÂ happens with companies that are trying to get through their day to day business activities, going from one crisis to the next to correct an issue with a customer order, etc. They are focused on the “Urgent” and forgot to take time out to get back to the “Important.”
When you live in the fast track and get use to dealing with the urgent issues, you never get time to step back and see reality. You live in a mental construct that is like your playing aÂ characterÂ part in the Matrix movie. You are unaware of how things are working or not working. Everything becomes a habit and we get addicted to the certainty and comfort of activities that areÂ repetitiveÂ andÂ familiar.
Here are a couple of short videos that will help answer the question:
Thinking about Lean in your collision repair center? The experts from 3M break down the basics of Lean Process LIVE from NACE 2011.
So, the first video gives a good overview of leanÂ principles, the next video will demonstrate how an organization is using them to improve its processes. Â It is important to understand the what, when and how to use lean principles to give a practical answer to the question we are posing in this article – What is a Lean Process?
Don Wetekam, Group Vice President of MRO, gives an extensive presentation on how to cut costs while still operating at a high level.
This quote by George Bernard Shaw explains it better than most, “Progress requires change and if you can’t change your mind, then you can’t change anything.”
If you want to change, you have to become aware of the flaws in the current process and this cannot happen by maintaining the status quo, it requires a paradigm shift. An executive management team must gain insight into their business practices and realize that something it not working. They must stop blaming the system and start to realize that they are enabling and supporting their organizations poor performance. So, what is a lean process? It’s when employees learn how to work smarter and stop believing that the only way to improve performance is to work harder.
Featured image by: FreeDigitalPhotos