Lean Principles can be effectively applied throughout the entire supply chain process, from R&D, procurement and manufacturing to warehouse operations, sales and route-to-market.
Indeed, it is the cross-departmental synergy of Lean Thinking throughout the entire business model that achieves such profound improvements to sustainable bottom line profitability. Just like a perfectly tuned engine, Lean optimises performance by tweaking every part of the machine to maximise efficiency and minimise waste – extracting the highest possible output from each component part. After a Lean transformation, every process runs at its optimum, each contributing the overall drive to maximise profit.
However, from a functional perspective, Lean runs even deeper than that. Implemented initially through one or more “lighthouse” projects, each focusing on a small part of the bigger picture, Lean Management first vindicates its champions and supporters before winning over the neutrals and the doubters. By being included and actively participating in the changes that make their own working lives immeasurably easier, more enjoyable and more productive, even the most resistant of employees become engaged and invested in a shared corporate ambition like never before.
From the perspective of the corporate mindset, it is this process of “proving” that is so crucial – by participating in Lean projects, the sceptical are invariably not only won over, but converted into strong advocates by the time a Lean implementation is complete. It is this bedrock of support from even the initially most doubtful members of the workforce that forms the foundation for sustainable, self-sufficient adherence to Lean practices.