Where Should We Start?

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Embarking on a lean continuous improvement journey can be an overwhelming task, especially when you're unsure where to start. In this Gemba Insight, we will break down three fundamental guidelines to help you determine the best starting point for your organization.

1. Identify Your "Why"

The first step in beginning your lean journey is to understand why you're starting. Knowing the problem you're trying to solve is crucial for setting the stage for a successful journey.

Understanding Your Motivation

There are many reasons to embark on a lean journey. Some organizations may start due to a recommendation, a strategic initiative tied to business goals, or a request from a customer. Regardless of the reason, it's essential to communicate the "why" to your team to foster collaboration and ensure everyone is working towards the same goal.

Emphasize the Importance of Action

When individuals understand the reason behind the lean journey and agree on its importance, they are more likely to contribute valuable ideas and suggestions for improvement. Encouraging open communication and collaboration is key to a successful lean transformation.

2. Follow the Money and Secure Early Wins

Another important aspect of starting your lean journey is identifying areas where you can secure early wins. Focusing on low-hanging fruit can provide a strong foundation for more significant improvements down the road.

Engage Financial Experts

When selecting early wins, it's crucial to involve your organization's financial experts, such as the CFO or financial controller. These individuals can help ensure that the savings achieved are real and not just on paper.

Evaluate Savings

For example, if you free up workspace, consider the potential financial impact. Will the open space be rented out? Can you cancel the lease or sell the space? Is there an opportunity to generate new revenue in that area? These questions will help you determine the true value of your early wins.

3. Establish a Clear Vision and Direction

Having a clear vision and direction is essential for continuous improvement. The concept of a "north star" can help keep your organization on track and focused on the goals you've set.

Visit Advanced Lean Organizations

A great starting point is to visit organizations that have already implemented lean methodologies. These visits can provide inspiration and insight into what can be achieved with lean. Remember, the goal is not to copy every tool or process you see, but rather to understand the principles behind them. The good news is that you can take virtual tours from our exclusive Gemba Academy Live catalog.

Develop Your Own Vision

By learning from other organizations, you can develop your own vision for your lean journey. Ask questions about their practices and identify the underlying reasoning. This will help you create a tailored approach that best suits your organization's needs.

In conclusion, understanding your "why," securing early wins, and establishing a clear vision are crucial steps in starting your lean journey. By following these guidelines, your organization can embark on a successful continuous improvement journey, driving efficiency and growth.