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The Lean Methodology: How your business can take advantage

Project management methodologies help reduce the chaos inherent in many business processes. These collections of principles and rules help workers understand their roles and what’s expected of them, helping them come together to achieve more as a team.

No matter what industry a business operates in, the right methodology can help streamline processes and deliver faster, better results. One, in particular, stands out. Find out how the Lean Methodology can benefit your business.

Manufacturing a new methodology

The methodology we know today as Lean was created by Toyota to manage production in their factories. Known then as the Toyota Production System (TPS), its purpose was to bring consistency to processes while reducing waste.

More of a mindset than a methodology, Lean was heavily customer-centric and aimed at generating maximum value and productivity.

The underlying principles were defined as “continuous improvement” and “respect for people.” These simple yet effective goals began to draw attention from those outside the manufacturing industry. When it became obvious that the application of the methodology could be beneficial to businesses, interest began to grow.

The birth of Lean

In 1990, The Machine that Changed the World was published. This book brought Toyota’s production system into view of not just manufacturers but businesses in varied industries throughout the western world. Comparing GM’s mass production model to the far more successful TPS, the book sought to open readers’ minds to the concept of flexibility.

The Lean Methodology aims to solve problems creatively, rather than relying on strict, inflexible rules. As many businesses increasingly embrace agile operations, methodologies like Lean have been helpful for maintaining structure.

Lean principles first began to appear in the software development world as Agile methodology. Development teams looking for a more flexible method than the traditional Waterfall approach embraced Lean principles to reduce development times, producing higher-quality results in less time.

How you can apply the Lean Methodology

Although applying a new philosophy and methodology throughout your business sounds intimidating, it doesn’t have to be. One of the most important facets of the Lean Methodology is that it necessitates many iterative processes upon which your business will come to rely.

To help you understand what Lean can offer, you first need to understand what Kaizen is and how it can benefit you.

Kaizen

As one of the central tenets of the Lean methodology, Kaizen represents “constant improvement.” It’s the concept of a journey, not a destination. This encapsulates the ongoing examination and improvement of processes that the Lean Methodology encourages.

Committing to business growth and excellence requires understanding that your work is never done. Your business can begin to both implement Kaizen and pursue digital transformation with a few key processes.

Examining your resources

A common misconception of Lean is that it’s primarily concerned with cutting waste. This isn’t the case. Lean is equally, if not more, focused on creating value.

Of course, the resources you rely on as a business, primarily your people, must be used as effectively as possible to minimize waste. But playing to worker strengths by giving them the right tools to complete their work, providing training and education, and deploying their skills optimally, all naturally contribute to an environment that fosters continuous improvement.

Consulting employees

Productivity is essential, and it’s impossible to maintain a productive environment without happy employees. Kaizen encourages teamwork and sourcing ideas from every worker — this is the only way to ensure that internal concerns are addressed, and that people have the tools they need to get their work done well.

When it comes to tools, opt for low-code/no-code solutions that don’t require tech knowledge to use — these democratize process development. They let workers give honest feedback on the processes they use every day and recommendations for improvements that will help your business support them effectively.

Identifying processes that could be more efficient

We all rely on hundreds or thousands of business processes, intricately woven together across multiple departments and applications. It can be difficult to know where to begin to optimize these processes. Process mapping is one of the easiest ways to begin optimization. This involves committing every process in your business to a map, making the processes visible and creating insights into your current efficiencies. Process mapping tools are available to help your business get started, creating personalized dashboards of specific processes for every employee — all with no code required.

Achieving efficiency with Nintex

Your business can start applying the Lean Methodology by implementing the Nintex platform. With process mapping, dynamic forms, eSignatures, automation, and other capabilities, Nintex provides efficient, simple tools your workers need to complete productive and meaningful work. The Lean Methodology may provide the ideas, but it’s the Nintex Platform that will help your business execute them.

 

To find out more about how process mapping can help your business eliminate waste and create value, get in touch with Nintex today.