By: Kathy Kent Toney, President of Kent Business Solutions
When I was a kid, I was a picky eater. My parents didn’t usually force me eat certain foods, but one night, my mom made me eat cooked spinach, something I hated with a passion. She was determined to eliminate the waste of food she worked so hard to cook!
She told me I couldn’t leave the table unless I finished it, so my creative mind went to work. I certainly didn’t want to be there all night!
A container of Cool Whip on the table caught my attention. Hmmm, I wonder what Cool Whip and spinach tastes like together…
So I dolloped some on my spinach. It didn’t taste that great, but I finished it off.
I felt brilliant! I killed two birds with one stone. I solved my problem, and my mom was relieved she didn’t have to deal with my stubbornness!
What’s the moral of the story here?
Leadership in most organizations wants to eliminate wasteful activities (like my mom) to achieve lower costs.
Employees ultimately want to do the same thing. They don’t want to deal with inefficiencies that waste their time (think of my mom wasting my time!). If the disconnect isn’t addressed, the company can miss out on lowering costs and the employees will most likely continue to be frustrated. And as we all know, a frustrated worker is not a productive worker!
What to do? Streamline your workflows with Lean tools.
Just what is Lean? Here’s a simple definition: It is used to eliminate waste in manufacturing and office processes. Lean creates more value for customers with using fewer resources. This in turn lowers costs.
But those aren’t the only benefits.
Streamlined processes reduce employee frustration as well. Through Lean activities, employees help develop the solution. Since they are involved first hand, this often brings a greater sense of engagement and job satisfaction (I know I was pretty pleased with my own ingenuity at 8 years old!).
The combination of reduced costs and more engaged employees ultimately contributes to greater profitability. And what company doesn’t want that!
So, with Lean tools, you can kill two birds with one stone: increase employee engagement and lower costs… that’s a win-win!
You don’t need to take my word for it. Here’s an example of a successful Lean implementation my colleague was involved in. Before they started the project, this Kansas City manufacturer recorded $18M in annual sales and employed 100 employees. Two years after their Lean implementation, they experienced these results:
Companies that embrace Lean principles aren’t the only party to reap the benefits—customers do as well. A key tenet of Lean is ensuring that only value-added activities occur regularly, those that a customer would be willing to pay for. When companies go Lean, customers experience higher levels of satisfaction and increased product quality.
You may be thinking: “these benefits are all well and good, but I don’t work on a factory floor, and I certainly would never add Cool Whip to my spinach!" Here’s some good news: Lean can be applied to any organization and to any discipline. Check out this video to see how Lean can benefit Sales and Marketing!
Interested in learning more? Here are some tips on how you can start a Lean-thinking attitude in your organization.
If you’d like to take it a step further, I’m currently offering a free ½ hour Discovery Call. I’d love to discuss with you any questions you have about Lean or any challenges you are experiencing with your business.
Click here to get started!