Wednesday, June 6, 2018

The Lean Gelateria | Part 2 | Lean? The Goal?

<<<<< The Lean Gelateria | Part 1

Italy, Sicily and Gelato: 
Do you know?  Gelato was invented in the 16th century in Italy.  The island of Sicily was its birthplace!  The art of gelato making was passed on and perfected in Italy until the 20th century. That is when many Italian families specializing in gelato making traveled to several countries in Europe and introduced gelato across Europe. Italy has more than 35000 shops that sell ice creams and gelatos and continues to retain the authenticity as one would say ‘If you want authentic homemade gelato, you have to visit Italy!’

Who would say ‘No’?
Do you say yes to chocolate? If yes, try chocolate gelato!  This is a wonderful flavor and it comes with the health benefits of both chocolate and gelato.

Leaning on TPS
In my previous post, I wrote little bit about the history of Lean. Lean refers to a manufacturing approach or a set of manufacturing practices developed by Toyota (1950s). It was known as TPS or Toyota Production System. Lean or Lean Thinking is a term introduced by the researchers at MIT.  All it meant was TPS or the Toyota way of meeting customer needs.

TPS is the backbone or root of Toyota’s outstanding performance, customer loyalty and brand value.   GM and Ford reported losses in 2006. Toyota reported a profit of 13 plus billion US dollars! In 2007, the market capitalization of Toyota was higher than the combined market capitalization of the three giants (GM, Ford, Daimler-Chrysler). Toyota remained innovative and introduced hybrid vehicles.

Could visitors lean?
Not only MIT researchers but also thousands of senior leaders from several corporates visited Toyota’s production lines in Japan. They studied the practices and returned home to implement them.  Most of them implemented all such practices but failed to demonstrate results! Meanwhile, Toyota replicated its practices in United States and started manufacturing cars there! For them, Lean worked seamlessly.

So, what is the crux and power of Lean Thinking or Toyota way? In Toyota, for each employee there are ample opportunities to find problems in one’s chain of activities or role, solve them and make improvement.  Toyota employees are nurtured in identifying problems and living with the awareness that they hold an opportunity to solve problems This enables them improve the way they do their day-to-day work! On the other hand the management is committed to investing in its people and promotes the culture of continuous improvement.

The goal
The goal of lean is to deliver value, sustainably delivery value and sustainably deliver value fast. Let me elaborate.The goal of lean or lean thinking or any lean initiative is to deliver value as early as possible in short intervals or short cycles in a timely manner with high quality. You should not try to do this by taking short cuts or making quick fixes thereby lowering the level of quality or perform in unsustainable pace through unsafe practices. You should do this through undeterred focus on continuous improvement.

The scope
Every team (from functions like Service Delivery, Marketing, Sales, Recruitment, Operations, Training, etc.,) in organizations would be second to none in saying that the goal is to sustainably deliver value fast at short intervals! How do we move towards this goal? Software project teams do this by adopting agile methodologies.  Agile methodologies have been founded on some of the lean principles.  Some software teams adopt lean practices such as Kanban. We will discuss more on this in my subsequent posts.

So, what is the difference between lean and agile? One of the major differences is the scope of implementation. Agile methodologies are implemented typically in software projects (after the contract is signed and project is created). Lean can be implemented end-to-end.What I mean here is lean practices can be implemented from pre-sales stage to project or services delivery and further.  Does it sound like ‘From pre-sales, services delivery, customer satisfaction surveys, sustenance, to account mining’? Yes. That’s correct.

Is this your question?
You know the goal and scope of lean thinking. You may ask, "So, is it true that Kanban boards, lean tools and waste reduction are the foundation blocks of lean?"

Brilliant question!   Let us wait and see the answer in my next post!

Let me ask you
Before we part, I have some questions for you. 

Do you have adequate opportunities to identify problem, issues, and challenges that are directly under your influence - in your project or day-to-day work life?  Do you solve them and see improvement?  Or are you too busy identifying and digressing on problems that are not under your sphere of influence?

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