What is Lean?

Lean, in it’s basic form, is the elimination of waste. Waste is anything that does not add value to the customer or stakeholder. The various forms of waste have been identified as:
  • Overproduction: Making more product or providing more services than is required.
  • Waiting: Any ‘down time’ between starting and finishing a process.
  • Motion: Any movement (human or machine) that is not necessary to complete a process.
  • Transportation: Any movement of product or service that adds unnecessary cost or delay to the delivery of the product or service.
  • Inventory: Keeping too much inventory resulting in increased overhead.
  • Rework: Having to do the same process twice because you didn’t do it right the first time.
  • Overprocessing: The addition of processes not required to create a quality result.
  • Human Capital: Not using the knowledge capital of the stakeholders (employees, customers, vendors, etc.) of the organization.

What is Simplification?

  • To understand Simplification, we first have to discuss Complexes.  Most businesses, regardless of how sophisticated they are, start with logical business processes.  Their processes have a specific purpose and a well-defined beginning, middle and end.  But business evolve and the processes they use also change, but they don’t always stay in synch.  Over time, new tasks are added, some are eliminated and others just don’t add value any more.  The result is an overall process flow that now has gaps, overlaps, and activities that are disconnected from the current business requirement.  These sub-optimal activities are what we call Complexes and represent waste and lost opportunities.
  • Simplification is the Emercomm Process to unlock the potential within your organization.  We use Lean tools and methodologies to do this starting with our Lean Gap Analysis that tells us where you today.  Our proven Simplification process will ensure that you achieve all your project goals and objectives – generating improved efficiencies and profit for the bottomline.

Why should we do Lean?

Lean removes wasted time, effort, cost and risk from businesses and increases competitiveness.

How Can Lean Help My Business?

Lean assists you in defining all of the aspects of your business (be that in private or public domain) that will attract or repel your clients or customers. Then a good Lean initiative will ensure that you develop plans to maximize your strengths and minimize those issues that can cause people or organizations to pass you by.

What is the Lean Gap Analysis?

The Lean Gap Index was developed out of our desire to streamline and speed-up the ‘simplification’ process. It will help you to understand the gap between where you are and where you need to be. Understanding this gap helps you identify the scope of business improvement work that needs to be done within your business and helps you stay focused on your overall goals.

Where Can Lean Be Used?

Lean is used in almost every business vertical and is starting to be used in government administration. Lean can be used in your own personal life to reduce time, effort, cost of living and personal risk factors.

How Do I get Started with Lean?

Lean starts with ensuring that the foundational components are in place: Executive commitment; knowledge capital; value propositions; technology; willingness to change; and, key performance indicators. With these in place, plans for improvement can be made and executed.

What tools are in the Emercomm Lean Toolbox?

  • Our ‘tools’ come in three types: Knowledge Capital; Coaching Facilitation; and, Technology
  • Our resources have, in total, centuries of experience in a wide range of industries and areas of responsibilities.  Our ability to coach people and facilitate team collaboration is not an approach that many ‘consulting’ organizations take because it transfers the power of knowledge to the client.  We have partnered with an Enterprise Process Management (EPM) organization to utilize their technology to produce process maps in both documentation and automation formats which are very cost effective, fast and utilize minimal effort to implement.

What is the Lean Boot Camp?

The Lean Boot Camp is a comprehensive training program for your project team.  It exposes the entire team to lean methodologies and ensures there is alignment and communication baked into the lean initiative.

What Can Lean Coaching Offer Me?

Lean coaching transfers the knowledge of how to evaluate lean opportunities and how to manage the continuous improvement journey through the use of Lean principles and processes.

How can Lean Help Me in my Daily Job?

When Lean is implemented, daily tasks have wasted time and effort removed from them and the potential to miss a critical deadline is minimized.  This results in your daily job becoming more meaningful in terms of the effort you put in and less stressful as a result of the processes being in control.

What Conditions should be in place to create a successful Lean Project?

  • Knowledge of what the project is, why the project exists, who is involved, when various activities and stages should be complete and the expected outcomes.  This knowledge needs to be communicated in a number of manners throughout the organization.
  • Knowledge of the methodologies that can be used to format solutions to business issues.  This often requires an investment in education before and during the project.
  • Fast and accurate information throughout the organization that supports the value propositions and methodologies being implemented.  This means that the entire technology infrastructure (not just computers and software) requires review.
  • A validated Stakeholder Value Proposition (SVP) and Customer Value Proposition (CVP) that can be communicated and supported throughout the organization and with strategic partners.
  • Executive commitment in deed as well as word.  Executive management needs to take active responsibility for the overall project and ‘walk the talk’.
  • Effective teamwork and compromise.  This often requires some team building assistance and facilitation.
  • Project leadership and management by someone that knows how to manage the project and is respected within the organization as a leader (leadership being a different skill than management).  Sometimes this requires a team of two where the leader facilitates the changes and a person that is experienced in maintaining a project timeline, budget and resource plan is responsible for managing and reporting on the project.
  • Celebrations of success.  When benchmarks are achieved, ensure that some type of celebration is held.  For each member of a team, it may take the form of a presentation, awarding of a pair of tickets to an event, or something else that appropriate to the level of achievement.  When corporate milestones are reached, an appropriate event such as a lunch-time buffet set up in a place where many can gather (I’ve seen them done in parking lots and shipping docks) or some other form of inclusive staff function should be held.
  • Personal accountability.  When someone accepts responsibility for completion of a task within a timeline, there must be consequences when it doesn’t happen.  When management lets one person off that accountability hook, it gives leave to others to do the same and suggests that management really isn’t that serious about achieving the goals.

What is Business Process Management?

BPM has a few meanings.  It is the overall term used to describe the documentation of business processes.  It is also the base for creating VSM maps in the ‘as is’ and ‘to be’ states. This mapping may be done using basic elements such as butcher paper and sticky notes.  Lastly, BPM is used to describe a technology that maps and automates business processes.  Using the technology, the user can create maps that can be subjected to VSM methodology and then integrated to other technologies such as ERP, CRM, CAD, QMS, Project Management, Service Management, Condo Management, Patient Management, e-business on the internet and others which ensures that the business processes are controlled and efficient.

What is Value Stream Mapping (VSM)?

VSM is a methodology that is used within a Lean project.  Using VSM allows an organization to determine three critical factors relating to the time, effort or cost that adds to, or hinders, the customer value.  We measure: Value-Added; Essential Non-Value-Added; and Total for each of the three factors.  Subtract Value-Added and Essential Non-Value-Added from the Total and you have a beginning waste factor.

Emercomm’s methodology takes this one step further and assigns a risk management factor which allows management to concentrate efforts on risk reduction priorities.