Friday, 15 October 2010

Implementing LEAN

Interesting presentation from a University that had implemented LEAN.
I've posted about LEAN before, and some of you will know that I'm interested in using it in Sheffield to improve some of our processes.
LEAN is a form of process reengineering, and 80% of lean projects involve implementation of some technology. It also intersects with project management technologies.

LEAN focuses on processes, not people, and one of its goals is to eliminate outdated or inefficient practices. It leverages collective knowledge by getting all those involved in a process together to talk abut it.

Common roadblocks to lean are:
People afraid, of losing jobs, or of change
Lack of follow through.
Sabotage (it does happen!)
Sacred cows, or things we just can't change
Predetermined solutions, especially by senior management
Too many other pressures

The goal is to eliminate waste and this can come inn many forms, for example multiple forms asking for the same information, forms sitting in inboxes for a long-time, actual work time being minimal, customers waiting a long time, inaccurate information

Many detps want quick fix, ask IT to write or implement a system but don't review the processes. IT can be used to prioritise, this particular University will not start a project unless its been through the LEAN process. only do projects that have been through LEAN.

A key tool is value stream mapping, basically a diagram of the process with metrics, timelines etc. You can also use other tools to get information such as asking "why?" 5 times in different ways.

In this University they trained a number of facilitators then paired them up to work on 10 projects. First task was to identify goals. Different goals would have different ways of approaching the project eg reducing cost might be different to improving accuracy.

Value stream map of current process and desired should take two days only. Metrics need to be included timeline underneath and identify where a process is so complex that it needs its own map.

Identify sacred cows, and parking lot items - things that might touch the project but not driving main project, need to be parked and not used as distraction.

Then make a list of actions to get to desired state and allocate tasks. Then becomes like a project.

People have to be neutral. If people are heavily involved in process, have to be balanced by people who aren't.
Time, can be done in 2 days.

As you're doing LEAN document the process your working on. Chances are no one has done it before.

A LEAN initiative is a good way to embed things in the process like equality and diversity, data protection, carbon reduction.

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