What is LEAN to you? How do you define LEAN for your business?
Is it just a pure lean manufacturing methodology to your business to get rid of the waste?
Or is it just a tool for you to improve your work process and environment?
In one of our previous blog (lean production), we have briefly explain about lean manufacturing whereby it is a methodology to eliminate the 8 wastes while increasing the value of the product. A lean practice can also be used as a startup method. It can be a startup of a new business, or a new product or service.
How do we improve the products or services with LEAN?
Just to recap, lean is a methodology, a practice. Not a system. In lean practice, there is a lean innovation, which is also known as a design thinking. It focuses on increasing the products or services efficiency by capturing customers or consumers feedback early, and of course, when designing something, it is crucial to keep the needs of the end user in mind.
Why use LEAN INNOVATION?
In technology sector, we can see this from Google and Facebook. Whenever there are some new features they comes out with, the new feature will not be rollout to everyone, instead, they reveal them to a smaller group, gets the feedback and enhance before launching them entirely to the public.
For manufacturer, manufacturing industry such as automotive and smartphone is a great example. There are automotive facelift every year to almost every car model, regardless of segment A, B, or C. Same goes to smartphones. Regardless of which series, you will notice every year that same model with different series released to the market. Once the model released, the manufacturer get feedbacks from their customers and they enhance or upgrade their current model. New technologies with new features added in, and some changes on the design. When done, they launch it again in the next season as a new model or series.
Of course lean innovation has the element of minimizing waste in the product development cycle since it is part of the LEAN. However, this practice prioritize on experimentation instead of a detailed, complicated planning. It collects information faster and is closed to what customers’ need or want. Most importantly, the information collected are based on customers’ experience. It helps us to make decisions based on market-based evidence, you move and act fast before your competitors does.
As we all know, a business need to be fast-moving in order to stay in this competitive environment. To apply lean innovation successfully, it requires a willingness to change. In most manufacturing industry, they may not accept such idea, moves or to take such risk, ended up continue following the old lean manufacturing practice. Note that in today’s world, stepping into the industry 4.0, practicing lean innovation is easier to cater to customers’ needs. Although minor failures are unavoidable along the way since we are all living in a fast-pace world, overcoming such obstacles will help to improve the methods for future production. That is why, this is call LEAN INNOVATION.