There is a common misconception that lean management means massive change in the operational structure of a business. Not so, and many beleaguered businesses in Europe would do well to look at the principles of lean management to improve and streamline all processes with the business.
Origins of Lean Management
The principles of modern lean management come very definitely from Japan and the Toyota Production System (TPS), which identified several areas of waste reduction and a revolutionary way of looking at business methodology. Of course, lean management and lean manufacturing is not just about ‘cost cutting’, but about sustainable measures introduced, that will positively affect the business across all sectors. Two of the most important areas of lean management in TPS are ‘Continuous Improvement and ‘Respect for People’.
The idea behind continuous improvement is that no single idea can be perfect, and it is only through continual questioning and analysis that new systems and processes can be developed. Lean managers always strive to enhance the working environment by encouraging change and the ability to question ‘norms’ by all members of the workforce. Respect within the business environment is focussed on building effective long-term working relationships based on trust, opportunity and openness.
In many businesses across the UK and Europe, businesses are bogged down by the lack of effective change and more importantly, the lack of initiative to effect change due to ineffective management style. When I moved from the world of accounting to strategic management and on to my MBA and a study of micro capitalism, I became interested in lean management principles and how they can be applied to small business owners to drive an economy and instil principles of change in a diverse workforce.
As a busy consultant, I always impart the wisdom and common sense of TPS and lean management as an integral part of starting a business that has the best chance of success in a global economy.