Lean Thinking - Transforming Organisational Performance
Rubicon consultants help clients to apply in practice the five principles of Lean - identifying Value and eliminating waste, mapping Value Streams across organisational boundaries, creating process Flow in response to customer Pull, and coming ever closer to the unattainable goal of Perfection.
We are currently active in applying Lean thinking in the following contexts:
the last ten years Lean has been taken up by the construction industry with
consistently growing enthusiasm and effectiveness.
In the beginning there was a high level of resistance within the industry
with the often heard comment, "that may work for manufacturing but
construction is different". This
type of statement has proved to be both true and false.
True in that a slightly different Lean approach had to be developed for
the project-based environment of construction.
False in that once this had been accomplished the frameworks and methods
of Lean planning systems (see Last Planner) and Lean Logistics, the application
of all other Lean Principles and Lean methods are being effectively used to
produce the dramatic results that have been common in manufacturing for many
years. Additionally a Lean
Construction approach brings effective business management into construction
companies that often suffer from casual and undisciplined methods of management
(see Lean Construction Delivery System)
Within construction Rubicon Associates operate in a joint venture with The Wigzell Company (www.thewigzellcompany.com). Additionally, Brian Swain is a founding director of LCI-UK (Lean Construction Institute UK) which is a not for profit think tank for Lean in construction, associated with the Lean Construction Institute in the United States (www.leanconstruction.org and www.lci-uk.org).
The tools and techniques of Lean production cannot simply be transferred to an information-based, administrative or service environment. In such processes, the “end customer” is often also a supplier, participating in the value stream and even becoming part of the product! Since 1999 we have been working with clients and colleagues to create, test and constantly improve a Lean Service Delivery System which has led to dramatic improvements in response times, efficiency, customer perceptions and staff motivation. Client organisations who have benefited from this include Centrica (British Gas), GE Europe, Olympus UK, Norwich Union and dm drogeriemarkt (Austria). We have recently created a powerful simulation exercise called Answercard which allows participants to experience the benefits of Lean re-design in a contact centre and back office context.
Click on this link Lean Service Design to read more about this approach.
In 1990 Jones and Womack wrote their seminal book, "The Machine That Changed the World" in which they coined the phrase "Lean Production" to describe the type of manufacturing methods and results found at Toyota. There are now many books written on this phenomenon, its methods and approaches. At its heart is Lean Production; this is about creating value for the consuming customer and eliminating everything else that does not directly contribute to this value creation, i.e. waste. Rubicon Associates have successfully applied the principles and practices of Lean in a number of manufacturing facilities throughout the UK (see Hathaway Roofing case study).
is actually a total approach to doing business.
It is best known for its process / Value Stream improvement approaches
but in fact the effective implementation of a Lean strategy is a company-wide
activity affecting all levels of an organisation and all aspects - culture,
systems, processes, customer relations, product development and support systems.
The implementation of a Lean Enterprise strategy requires the
understanding, commitment and engagement of managers at all levels, as it is a
top to bottom, end-to-end process - and once begun, it never ends.
Rubicon Associates have from the very beginning of our work with Lean taken an enterprise approach to Lean transformations. We believe that ultimately, the only effective way of implementing and sustaining a Lean transformation is that everyone in the organization adopts Lean as their way of working and doing business.