If you have decided to implement a software solution to support your Lean approach to business, it is a smart move. Investing in the right technology signals to your organization that management is serious about Lean, supports your improvement work, and helps to align goals and priorities. But there are a lot of options on the market, so it can be difficult to sort out which Lean management system is right for you.
In our long experience, and after speaking to many Lean practitioners, we’ve discovered that the following capabilities really give Lean systems buyers the most bang for their buck.
Capturing opportunities for improvement from every level of the organization is essential to any Lean organization. The software you select should make it easy for anyone to note an opportunity, on any device, anywhere they happen to be. It should be intuitive enough to use so that everyone feels comfortable contributing to improvement.
It should also allow for any documentation of the issue, like pictures or reports, to be uploaded and made easily accessible.
In order to avoid what we call “suggestion box syndrome” (you know, the ideas go in, but they never get out), choose a solution that supports the actual implementation of opportunities. It should be easy for leaders to pull people into an improvement project and make assignments.
Increased visibility, communication, and accountability ensure that improvements keep moving through the cycle, aided by smart notifications that give the right information to the right people at the right time.
Whether you are tracking the progress of an individual improvement project or looking at the health of Lean work across the organization, your Lean management system should make it easy to get the information you need. Customizable screens that make it easy to visualize progress across the board are a great way to ensure engagement. Leaders should be able to quickly identify who is contributing to positive change and measure the impact of those changes.
Once your team begins using your Lean management system, it becomes the hub for knowledge exchange throughout the organization. You get a rich repository of information about your standards, each PDSA cycle, and every successfully implemented opportunity for improvement. Valuable information is no longer lost if someone leaves the company or changes roles.
If you select technology that supports each of these four key areas, you will have the structure you need to start, sustain, and benefit from your Lean culture.