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Why Software Needs to be Part of Your Lean Strategy

Posted by Clint Corley

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Oct 18, 2018 8:42:00 AM

hand drawing creative business strategy with light bulb as conceptIf you’ve decided to embrace the Lean business methodology, we offer our congratulations. It is an excellent approach to reducing waste, capturing opportunities for improvement, and creating a culture of innovation.

When most leaders start their Lean journey -- and it is a journey, we’re sure no one has achieved Lean perfection yet -- they focus on training managers and staff to ensure that they understand what Lean is really all about. This is a critical undertaking, but our clients have found that it is not enough on its own.

In addition to education, you and your team need the right tools in place to support Lean, and that starts with Lean management software.

Not only does software make your organization more effective at continuous improvement, but it also increases your strength as a leader.

Here’s why software should be a central part of your Lean strategy.

You Get a Real-time View into Improvement Activities

The Lean approach is centered around daily, incremental improvements. In most cases, these projects don’t require executive level intervention. Problems with workspace organization, inefficient forms, or sloppy data entry aren’t likely to land on your desk. But, in a twist of irony, those are precisely the types of problems that Lean is designed to resolve. With Lean software in place, you get a view of how issues like these are being tackled by your team. You may not get involved in many, but there is great value in knowing what types of problems are being identified, who is working to resolve them, and how quickly those improvement projects are moving through the pipe.

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Company and Individual Goals are Consistent and Aligned

Many Lean leaders go through a strategic planning process, sometimes using tools known as Hoshin Kanri or Policy Deployment. There is a strategic vision for where the organization will be three to five years from now. To get there, everyone needs to be moving in lock-step and working toward the same game-changing objectives. Lean software sets up the structure for leaders to cascade goals from the C-suite down to the front line. Each person has a clear understanding of how their work relates to the overall goals, and performance evaluation can be driven by those same objectives. When everyone is aligned with the most essential purposes, decision making is more straightforward and opportunities for improvement become more apparent.

Major Strategy Dashboard


You Can Influence Lean Culture

Corporate culture is an interesting thing. Every organization has one, even if it isn’t intentional. The goal of Lean leaders is to infuse the culture with improvement-centric thinking and the willingness to engage. This isn’t easy because culture can’t be dictated. It is the sum of all of the cues people receive about what “normal” behavior looks like. Lean software serves as your culture dashboard. You can see which people, teams, and departments are embracing the approach and effecting positive change. You can also see where additional training, coaching, and encouragement are needed.

Free Webinar: MORE Leadership Behaviors that Create an Improvement Culture

The Effort and Investment Underscores the Importance of Lean

You probably have software to manage every other important aspect of your business. Sales is likely run on a CRM, the finance team certainly has an accounting system, and you may even have multiple tools running HR. That’s because these core business functions are essential and must be well managed. Lean is no different. When you invest in technology, you send a clear signal to everyone that this is not a passing fad or the management mode of the week. It also gives your team confidence that you are willing to put financial resources to work making them successful at managing waste reduction and improvement projects.

Employee Recognition is Made Routine

Lean requires people to step out of their comfort zone and look at problems and processes in a new way. This can be uncomfortable, especially when the approach is new and the culture hasn’t been developed yet. The best way to reinforce the benefits of Lean and to get people excited about the possibilities for individual growth and career development is to recognize the people who get engaged and take risks. Look for a Lean software solution that has built-in improvement broadcasting so that you can celebrate success and the people who make it happen.

You Can Quantify the Impact of Lean

Implementing Lean is a big deal. It will change the principles on which your organization operates and impact the daily work of every member of the team. Therefore, it is essential that leaders are able to quantify the impact of improvement work and prove to employees, investors, boards, and others that the effort has been worth it. Lean software helps you quantify the results of Lean against your organization’s key performance indicators like reduced expenses, improved customer satisfaction, higher quality scores, increased revenue, and other critical metrics.

How to Manage Your Improvement Metrics

 

No one ever said that the Lean transformation was easy. It requires a well thought out strategy and careful attention to many moving parts. Lean management software will go a long way toward putting you in command and control and supporting every person’s contribution to success.

Topics: Lean, Continuous Improvement Software, Strategy Deployment

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