"Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better." — Maya Angelou
This quote pretty much sums up the aim of Lean. The lean approach to managing operations is really about:
- Doing the simple things well
- Doing things better
- Involving employees in the continuous process of improvement
- …and as a result, avoiding waste, providing value
Good is the enemy of great. Good gets in the way of doing our best. Good holds us back from tapping into our true potential. Many people accept the status quo and misguidedly believe that thinking, creativity and innovation is someone else’s job. Some people have literally turned off their curiosity. They have become apathetic, hopeless and indifferent.
Finding a better way does not necessarily mean making enormous changes. You can make huge leaps through small steps. Small improvements made repeatedly lead to great discoveries and successes. Getting into a continual improvement mode requires a different mindset, which for some, may be difficult. I believe that anything worth having is worth working for. Just remember experience is a tough teacher! Make learning the job. You can’t separate learning from innovation. Learning triggers creativity.
The focus of Lean Thinking is to foster an organization that is committed to finding better ways to serve its customers. Lean is all about finding better ways to do things, so that they require less effort, less time and fewer resources. It is not about cost reduction – penny-pinching, cutting investment, taking out people – it is about finding better ways to get work done. It is about developing a mindset, methods and tools to identify and eliminate waste in all its forms at every opportunity. It is about freeing-up resources because you no longer need to use them.