Lean thinking has produced some impressive results for organisations over a range of industries and sectors. The lean concept, popularised through Toyota, was created to cut down on waste and establish a more customer focused business. Since then, the principles of lean have been replicated and adapted to almost every industry and sector beyond manufacturing, as the examples below illustrate.
Government funding is always an issue and finding the resources to provide new services and for new projects is challenging. Attempting to allocate scarce resources is always a challenge and governments are often forced to abandon initiatives in order to balance the books and cope with the financial realities.
A lean approach, however, can help mitigate the impact of cuts. By eliminating wasteful processes which add no real value for the end user or stakeholder, governments can ensure that funds have a significant impact, targeted on the right areas. For example, UK highways maintenance projects are expected to save a staggering £250 million through the application of lean thinking and HMRC has saved £991 million in the past 4 years though its lean programme and many more areas are seeing similar impacts.
The public sector and particularly healthcare is faced with the challenge of having to be resourceful without sacrificing the quality of service delivery. Limited budgets and financial pressures can often make it very difficult for healthcare to provide an appropriate service to deal with the high and growing volume of demand and the costs of new technology and treatments..
Lean thinking can help healthcare create capacity in their systems by cutting out waste in processes, understanding and managing demand more effectively and concentrating their efforts in priority areas. The NHS has widely benefited from implementing lean principles by identifying and removing unnecessary processes, reducing waiting, speeding up treatment time, improving the quality of care and patient satisfaction.
Many reputable hotels have embraced lean thinking to make their operations run more efficiently. The hotel industry has so many different processes taking place at one time that without an effective coordination strategy, standards will start to fall and customer service suffer. Managing staff, taking bookings, running the restaurant, ordering food deliveries and providing good customer service are just a few of the many processes that hotels operate, making efficient management absolutely crucial.
A key objective of the hotel industry is to provide customers with a rewarding experience by hiring service-oriented staff, delivering prompt service and ensuring their experience is enjoyable. Lean strives to fulfil each of these requirements by empowering staff, cutting out unnecessary processes and focusing resources on areas of the customer journey that ‘delight’ customers. That is why so many successful hotels and restaurants continue to use the lean approach.
Food and Beverage
Businesses in the food industry rely heavily on a good reputation while invariably needing to be highly cost-effective to maintain profitability. Simply cutting costs across the board can have a detrimental impact on service quality and business performance, which is why restaurants, cafes and food suppliers need to have a more considered and targeted plan in place to maintain their reputation whilst also maximising profit.
Lean thinking can help food based companies to identify which processes can be removed without compromising quality or causing damage to reputation. By focusing on processes which add value for the customer, food companies can target their resources towards generating growth focused on customer needs.
Lean also encompasses an environmentally friendly approach. By cutting out unnecessary processes, businesses automatically become less wasteful in their use of physical products as well as business processes.
Could you benefit from lean?
No matter what industry you are in, adopting lean thinking lean can provide you with a much effective route towards achieving your business goals. Whether your aim is to cut down on costs, increase productivity, maximise customer value or increase work satisfaction for employees, lean has a role to play and can be adapted to suit any business. If you think that your business could benefit from lean, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us via the LCS website: https://www.leancompetency.org/