Striving For Perfection Is The Essence Of Lean Thinking!

Posted by on Jul 14, 2019 in Kaizen, Lean | 0 comments

Perfection in lean terms means the total elimination of waste in an enterprise so that all activities in a value stream create value.  What makes striving for perfection so difficult for most of us is that we live and work in the short term whereas perfection only seems plausible in the long term.

There are two paths to perfection, an incremental path, kaizen, and a radical path, kaikaku.  Continuous incremental improvements are achieved through kaizen, where you try to eliminate waste and improve something everyday.  Kaikaku, on the other hand, is where you “throw out all the rules.”  It is the type of improvement which may involve all the firms in a value stream– subcontractors, first-tier suppliers, fabricators, distributors, customers, employees, etc.  It could also involve a complete change in process technology or new product concepts.

To effectively pursue either path requires the value stream manager to apply the other four lean principles of identifying value, mapping the  value stream, creating flow, and establishing pull.  They then need to determine which forms of waste they want to attack first.  The more transparent the value stream becomes the easier it is to see and discover better ways to create flow.

Lean is ultimately a journey that never ends.  But organizations that set specific timetables to accomplish seemingly impossible tasks out perform those organizations that take a less aggressive approach.

No one has experienced a perfect process.  But a lean strategy and an aggressive approach that seeks perfection will get you closer and closer to the ultimate waste free process.

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