Efficiency Works , a specialist provider of Lean skills training courses in Australia explains the need for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to apply Lean thinking in their business processes.
One of the primary misconceptions of Lean skills concerns their applicability for different types of businesses having their own unique challenges.
While this may be true, a key advantage of Lean is its relevance for any process or business that is looking to add value.
There are three factors that influence the implementation of Lean in SME businesses:
Unless the company really wants to change and can see the need, it won’t.
A questioning and challenging approach
Lean experts are increasingly emphasising the importance of a questioning and challenging approach.
One will need to challenge the existing processes and ask:
- What is not as it should be?
- Where is the customer being let down or effort being wasted?
- What should one do about it?
SMEs will need to acquire the necessary Lean skills.
The nationally recognised course in Competitive Manufacturing is a good way to access materials as well as expert coaching and obtain the Lean skills required.
This Lean training course is heavily subsidised in Australia as a further incentive.
Can it be done?
Efficiency Works recently worked with a group of small businesses that had different business profiles but followed the same questioning and challenging process in reporting:
- Reduced lead times on jobs and quotes
- Improved profitability
- Reduced error rates
- Improved safety and environmental performance
Paul Thompson of The Hydraulic Shop, who participated in the session comments that the Lean process not only educated him but also helped him redesign key processes.
He reports that there has been significant improvement in their internal communication, processes, systems and customer service in addition to quicker turnaround and more capacity.