Around 10 years ago I was fortunate to undertake a MSc in Lean Operations, at that time I was joined by 13 aspiring Lean Practitioners and as we went through each of the modules a common theme emerged, the question of “where and how do we start our Lean journey?”
In recent years, as a Consultant, I have visited many businesses in a wide range of Industries and I have found that the same question arises; this should be no surprise because, generally speaking, there is urgency and desire to ‘get on with things’.
However if we don’t fully understand our ‘current state’, in Lean terms, it is difficult to understand where to start, and if we don’t have a ‘future state’ vision, how do we know where we want to be?
Would you ask your Doctor for medicine before he had chance to diagnose your ailments?
So how do we start! Well there are a number of options, but one thing is common, you have to ‘diagnose’ where you are and you have to have a vision about where you want to be.
You can do this in a number of ways, it could be through Value Stream Mapping (VSM) or alternatively it could be by undertaking a Lean Maturity Assessment (LMA) both of these establish where you are and create a ‘road map’ to achieve a ‘future state’, our bright new world.
So, no wonder the question is asked so frequently, because every business, every industry, every culture is different, until you establish where you are, what your Customer values and where you want to be, there is little chance that you are going to get there!