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LEAN: a growth strategy accessible to all

By Alexandre MORENO, Operational Excellence Consultant at GCP, who has anpragmatic expertise of Lean implementation for having practiced severalresponsabilities sat job positionssuch as Manufacturing Engineer, Product Owner or Lean Systems Engineer in the automotive sector in Europe. He supports our clients in missionsof value improvement stream, quality improvement, of inventory reduction or also thedevelopment and integration of new IT systems with a particular affinity for change management. He is graduated from a master ofengineerin Management with a specialisation in Supply Chain Management at HEC-Liège finalized in 2013  

What is LEAN?

Lean is a rather recent discipline, fashionable in recent years. Depending on who you talk to, there are different definitions. Lean is based on the5 principles of the bookLean Thinking by Daniel Jones and James Womack, the following definition seemed to us the most appropriate: “ Lean lis a business strategy to organize and improve operational company’s activities in order to reach business targets more efficiently» 

Lean can be consideres as astrategyor aphilosophy to achieve set objectives through various improvements that can be supported by tools such as Kaizen, Six Sigma, Kanban, to name a few. This consideration is very important, because for the adoption of Lean to be successful, the change must first be accepted and the usefulness understood by all stakeholders.  As always in all transformation projects, the human (manager, operator, engineer, etc.) is the center of attention and not the tools! 

How can we put it into practice?

Everyone can optimize their everyday life, for example by taking a moment to think about a habit that you want to change in order to save time.

In business, the implementation of Lean requires a structured approach. First, you need a awareness, a strong management sponsor, without this conviction, it will be difficult for a project to succeed. Then it is recommended to set a clear perimeter, generally limited to a process to be optimized, it must be limited and with motivated people. A diagnostic identifies the candidate process(es) for such an exercise.

Once the diagnosis has been established, easy and quick actions must be taken to identify “quick-wins”in order to confirm the success of the approach, there is nothing worse than starting with a difficult project or with little gains, because afterwards the detractors will say that Lean does not work, and it will become more and more hard to get him to accept. Even if it is possible to put the Lean philosophy into practice thanks to the many books available on the market, it is recommended to be accompanied by experienced people to start your journey as well as possible.

Is Lean only for industrial companies?

Lean, being a philosophy of improvement, can be implemented anywhere, as long as there is a process. Historically, it is true that the philosophy comes from the automotive world and heavy industry but more recently it has been deployed successfully in the hospital, food, banking sectors or even in the development of software.

Would you like to better understand the potential of this strategy for improving your processes?Contact our experts who will guide you step by step towards the success of this approach.