In the early 1800’s Henry David Thoreau said
‘Our Life is frittered away with detail…. Simplify simplify.’
Most of us believe that life during Henry David Thoreau’s lifetime was much simplier than today. We are mired in much more detail today. The essence of a lean organization is one that simplifies processes in order to improve productivity and have greater clarity and timeliness of information and ultimately improve profitability.
Fifty or so years later the great Supreme Court Justice, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. said the following :
‘Most of the things we do, we do for no better reason than that our fathers have done them or our neighbors do them, and the same is true of a larger part than what we suspect of what we think.’ - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Man’s mind, stretched by a new idea, never goes back to its original dimensions. – Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
These quotes also apply to reviewing current business processes with the goal of becoming a more lean,efficient and profitable organization.
First, what is being done in the company at the current time is not necessarily bad or good, the business processes have often come about because that is the way others did it or they are generally accepted business practices. The challenge with that way of creating business process is that it does not take into consideration unique issues in every company and rarely takes into account new technological advances.
Second, in order to really redesign process and become lean, we must completely rethink the entire organization, why processes are the way they are, and what are new ways of doing the task to eliminate the waste, inefficiencies and bottlenecks that have become commonplace. This requires that we stretch our minds to new ideas and when we do that we wonder how we could ever go back. In fact we can’t. So when the new ideas are introduced and tried, they seem very strange, unusual and against the order of the universe. While some ideas may not fit, many will over time.
Becoming a lean organization takes courage, and dedication. The rewards for the management team that becomes truly committed to lean is a more profitable organization positioned to take advantage of the recovering economy.
Contact LJR Consulting Services for a free 1 hour lean consultation. 818-227-5025