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What is lean process improvement?

Lean process improvement is a business methodology focused on continually reviewing a process to identify waste or opportunities to improve process efficiency. It is an ongoing feedback loop that improves the business through better processes, over time.

Lean is a user-focused process improvement methodology used to continuously improve any process. The core tenet is that through the elimination of waste in everything an organization does, it can increase work productivity. Lean process improvement is based on the parallel ideals of “continuous incremental improvement” and “respect for people.”

Lean BPM software

There are a lot of business process management software tools out there, but very few are built with lean methodologies in mind.

Process efficiency requires continuous improvement, not just making processes. Sure, you can capture some of your procedures in a flowchart, but they will still lack the capacity for feedback, collaboration and engagement that real lean process improvement is built upon.

Here is a quick checklist of things to look out for when you’re assessing BPM software with an eye on lean capabilities:

  • ● Does the software allow for lean tagging?
    ● Does the software enable fast feedback from all the stakeholders?
    ● Can process variations be managed between different locations and sites?
    ● Can the BPM software track waste and costs?
    ● Is the software easy to use, so staff want to engage with it?
    ● Does the software meet your security requirements, so your processes and innovations are kept secure?

5S lean manufacturing

5S methodology originated in manufacturing, but this business process management approach is now being applied to a wide variety of industries including health care, education, and local government.

Many local government organizations use Nintex Promapp® to meet their needs for improving work productivity and core process management. Central to the effectiveness of Nintex Promapp® in these settings is the easy-to-use process map.

Process maps become a crucial part of a lean business that follows the 5S methodology, because visually seeing a process enables users to quickly grasp the process flow and key activities. That makes identification of areas of improvement easier and something people across the business can contribute to.

Toyota lean manufacturing

Nintex Promapp® enables Toyota Australia to turn archival knowledge into effective business tools. Information currently held in static Visio charts and procedure documents locked in Word or Excel files can be easily transformed into clean, simple process maps that everyone can find and follow.

Managing processes also helps to mitigate risk, enabling the company to capture processes and valuable staff knowledge for subsequent operational improvement, at the same time as recording staff functions in case teams change or new teams are deployed.

“We didn’t previously have a holistic system for managing processes and only used Visio when we needed to map processes on a project-by-project basis,” says Trent Delardes of Toyota. “Moving forward, we determined that Visio was counter-productive to what we wanted to achieve.”

Once fully deployed across the organization, Nintex Promapp® can capture critical end-to-end business processes across different team functions, including vehicle pricing, vehicle launches, finance, purchasing, fleet sales, and technical services. It can also help to rapidly train new staff on an ongoing basis.

“We know with Nintex Promapp® that we’ll be able to capture information and make it accessible across functions, providing everyone with a strong foundation to work from. We’ll also be able to capture existing processes and record new ones, and help keep staff engaged with the overall business,” says Delardes.

Why do companies choose Nintex Promapp® to manage their lean requirements?

Nintex Promapp® has proven itself to be an ideal business process management toolset to complement these methodologies. The platform makes it simple to take the ideas scribbled on Post-it notes or whiteboards and incorporate them into easy-to-follow business processes that can be used by teams every day.

With the built-in lean tagging functionality, it’s even easier for organizations to bridge the gap between lean initiatives and business as usual.


“In 2008 we began looking at Lean Six Sigma ways of approaching processes. Nintex Promapp® was in line with them both, with the ability to provide documentation at the right level. Because, more than just processes, we were looking at a launchpad for continuous improvement that would also provide us with monitoring and measurability.”
– Genesis Energy

Read the Case Study


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