The main feature of this approach is to improve organisation via eliminating or limiting waste (Jap. Muda) in business processes. In their book “Lean Thinking”, Womack and Jones demonstrate five steps of Lean Management implementation based on their previous experiences while working on the system.
STEP ONE: Identify the value
By an activity that adds value in production processes, one should comprehend the proceedings that need to fulfil the following prerequisites:
- The customer is ready to pay for the activity (it is essential from his/her point of view)
- The activity is well accomplished the first time and does not require amendments
The implemented activity changes the shape, colour, function and application of the product.
STEP TWO: Map the value stream
All the activities that are performed by the employees in order to obtain a finished product belong to the stream value. Apart from added value, in every company there occur activities that can be defined as waste of type 1 and type 2 respectively. The first type is an activity that does not directly give added value to the final product; notwithstanding, it is obligatory in the production process and cannot be eliminated in the short term. The second type embraces the activities that do not add value to the final product and they can be eliminated immediately, without and loss on the customer’s side.
STEP THREE: Create flow
Having identified the value stream, it is mandatory to organize processes in a company in such a way that provides the activities responsible for adding value with the so-called flow.
STEP FOUR: Establish pull
The pull system relies on providing materials or finished products to subsequent processes (internal customers) or an external customer only when there is a demand. It should not even be considered to produce another batch if the customer does not ask for it. However, one must be ready for this contingency at any time.
STEP FIVE: Seek perfection
According to the Kaizen philosophy that is a basis for The Toyota Production System, improving is a never-ending endeavour. After completing optimization activities, further means of a company’s efficiency are sought.