Lean authors and specialists John Bicheno and Matthias Holweg re-defined them for service operations as below: IMPLEMENTING LEAN IN A SERVICE BUSINESSIrrespective of the differences outlined above between manufacturing and service, both industries require discipline to implement lean effectively.Personal experience has taught me that asking for volunteers to form a lean implementation team of fiveseven people from different departments is a good start.
SAVOURING THE BENEFITS OF LEANIn November 2012, Refreshment Systems, a UK-based vending machine supplier and family business which employs over 100 people, embarked on a lean journey to address several issues in the machine refurbishment department.
Located in the company’s Bradford headquarters, the department remanufactures an extensive variety of vending machines to give them an eco-friendly ‘second life’ before they are placed in companies spanning small and medium sized businesses, NHS Trusts and corporations such as Thomas Cook and Unilever.
The next step is to teach the team the use of various lean tools and to adopt best practice in the truest sense of the phrase by visiting non-competing businesses that have implemented lean.
Such companies who stimulate a culture of continuous improvement are invariably willing to share their learning’s with businesses that are hungry to learn and improve.
MANUFACTURING VS SERVICEIn the adage that one size does not fit all, lean and six sigma specialist and author Pete Abilla contrasts manufacturing and service businesses, advising against the “blind copying” of lean manufacturing tools across to services in the belief that they will be as effective.
Whereas there are consumption and production at different stages in manufacturing businesses, he says services industries entail simultaneous production and consumption (co-creation between producer and consumer).
Next is looking at addressing as many visible waste problems as possible and seek to resolve downtime and other issues which cause instability.
Finally, there is selecting a pilot project to implement and run with it for up to three months before evaluating and reviewing activities and improvements as well as learning from mistakes.
The benefits of the pilot project are being constantly assessed with the aim of rolling out the lean initiative across the entire business.
A CHALLENGESpecsavers’ corporate tax team in Guernsey commissioned a consultancy to improve their workflow and eliminate waste.