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In this lecture we will discuss the difference between lean thinking and traditional thinking. Let’s recall two of the types of work. Those work activities that add value and those that do not. In the video above we see an activity that is adding value. Value added work has three characteristics to it:
These types of activities are crucial to an organization. They create value for the customer and as some may say are the only activities that really matter. This is true in many respects. But, in true lean thinking, non-value matters just as much. Let’s take a closer look. In the video above there is a value stream. To simplify we will identify activities as either:value stream, this means that value has been added. When you see a red portion of the value stream, the activity is in fact non-value. As a reminder value adding activities must transform in some way. In this activity we see that the vast majority of the value stream is in fact non-value, or, activities that do not add value. This is the key difference between traditional thinking and lean thinking.
In a traditional organization the focus is on getting more out of the value adding activities. For example, if a job is running late a traditional organization may work overtime, hire more workers or at times push resources to run longer, harder and faster than they normally would. While this can at times be valuable, it is not a sustainable way to operate.
Lean Thinking Organizations
Lean thinking organizations look at a process and acknowledge the importance of creating value, but focus primarily on eliminating or reducing the waste in a value stream. This type of focus not only improves the efficiency of a value stream, but, it also enhances the effectiveness, improves the quality, advances the agility as well as reduces costs across an organization.
As you can see a lean thinking organization simply has more opportunity to improve and enhance the various processes in their organizations. This focus on waste reduction can be difficult to accept at times, however, as you begin to remove waste you will find that this method of continuous improvement is actually much easier than pushing the limits of already excessive overtime and overused resources.