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Mastering Process Management: The Heartbeat of Lean Success

Lean is all about managing Processes

Welcome to the world of Lean, where every process — no matter how small — is a single ingredient vital to a dish. It is a culinary art, in a sense: imagine you are a cook in a huge and busy restaurant. Your every ingredient must be fresh, and every step must be methodically executed. You never just watch from the outside; instead you support your subordinates, actually taking part in the execution. This is what Lean process management is.

Guiding Lights in the Lean Journey

 In the realm of Lean process management, the role of management is twofold: controlling and supporting. But let’s demystify these terms, shall we?

1-Controlling: The Compass of Success

Herefore, think of controlling as more leading your ship through a rough sea rather than lashing at the crew. This includes setting goals, leading by example, and keeping an open line of communication .

When expressed with the power of a story, the image becomes clearer: a superior gathers their team daily at a huddle and shares the goals for the day, the victories of yesterday, and the possible obstacles they will face today. Be the compass and not the boss.

2-Supporting: The Wind Beneath Your Wings

Supporting means to equip your team with the means, inspiration, and the surroundings essential for soaring. Imagine a case in which a manager becomes aware of an employee struggling with old equipment.

The manager decides to make an investment and acquire the employee a new instrument, as well as arranging a tutorial on operating it optimally. In this case, annoying circumstances turn from what average jobs would do into a tale of inspiration and learning.

Walking the Talk: Lean in Action

To truly understand if a process management model is flourishing within your Lean environment, take a walk to the Gemba—the real place where value is created. Here, we ask four critical questions to gauge the pulse of process management:

  • Guidance on the Ground: How is leadership guiding the team? Look for signs like clear communication channels, visible targets, and examples of leadership in action. For instance, does your team have access to a visual dashboard that tracks progress in real-time?
  • Support in the Soil: How is the team being supported? Evidence of support can range from regular training sessions, access to the necessary tools, and a culture of open feedback. A simple yet powerful example could be ergonomic workstations designed after feedback from the team, showcasing care for their comfort and productivity.
  • Value from the Vine: What value is the customer receiving? Identify the outcomes that customers are truly paying for, such as timely delivery, high-quality products, or exceptional service. For instance, if you’re in software development, this could mean delivering bug-free updates that enhance user experience. 
  • Adding Your Flavor: What unique value do you contribute? Reflect on how your role or department adds to the customer’s experience. Whether it’s meticulous quality checks or creative product enhancements, your contribution spices up the customer’s journey.

Bringing It All Together

Starting a Lean journey is akin to sculpting a beautiful statue. It takes patience, expertise, and a comprehensive knowledge of the materials—your procedures—at your disposal. By guiding and nurturing your employees to follow your lead, management has the chance to paint on the canvas of your workplace’s continuous development and customer satisfaction.

As such, how do I hope you digest these thoughts from today? “How can I lead more effectively? They, however, constraining my words and budget my time, so how can my employees fulfill their potential?” is a question to ask. It’s important to note that everyone in the Lean kitchen has a hand in preparing a sumptuous meal for the customer. Let’s put this into practise.

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