Whether or not your organization fully embraces the Lean manufacturing business paradigm or just borrows some of its best practices, the methodology has many valuable tools and techniques. There are so many that it can be challenging to decide which one to use for a given project or problem. There’s no “right” way to apply lean tools to achieve continuous improvement, but there are some situations for which particular techniques are generally well suited.
We’ve broken down the most valuable tools that can be leveraged to support daily improvement, problem-solving, waste elimination, and strategic planning in this post. Before we get into specific tools, however, it is helpful to understand the common goals of all Lean tools. Each performs one or more of the following functions:
- Communicate Information
- Define and Share Standards
- Enforce the Standards
- Bring Attention to Variation
- React to Variation
- Prevent Variation from Occurring
Lean practitioners deliver maximum value to the customer by eliminating waste and creating processes that produce consistent, predictable results. These Lean management and total quality tools are used to achieve those goals.