Continuous improvement in the company of the XXI century

Lean Management seeks to eliminate waste, which are all those human activities that absorb resources and does not create value. Some examples of waste are defects that require repair, overproduction occupied warehouse space and has used resources, steps unnecessary process, movements of employees or products without purpose, bottlenecks remain pending jobs and goods or services not the customer wants.

Lean seeks to employ less human effort, less equipment, less time and less space to produce an excellent product tailored to customer demand

“The secret is not in the name of philosophy, but in attitude, persistence over time, to pursue and implement improvement actions and elimination of value-added activities, with the full support of management and employees, tailored to the circumstances specific to each company, for increasing productivity, reducing delivery times, increasing quality and reducing costs. ”



Value of the product / service

Companies are ecosystems in order to create value in all aspects. The social value is determined by the enrichment of society generating work, innovanción, competition, etc …. And of course economic value, ensuring them to be sustainable and temporal continuity.

According to the above definition, it is clear that if a company fails sales not prosper. Purchases are made by the end user or customer. Then it’s logical to think that the company should seek ways to conquer. To conquer someone, the first thing you usually do is inquire about their tastes, interests, needs … to ensure that our proposals are a positive response. Now we should ask if we apply this idea of ​​everyday life in our company do we clear our client profile? Do we know what you are looking for with our product? Why you decide to go to the competition? But we can not forget analyze ourselves what can we give? What are our strengths? How we want to be known for our customers ?.

Only by having clear strategy of the company and the customer’s voice we can achieve good or service that meets their needs, function, price and delivery time. This is the product value.

When they asked Dr. Deming what his definition of quality, he wisely replied, “What is quality? Do not ask me. Ask the customer. ”

Common Mistakes in companies when defining the value:

A very sophisticated, complex and full of options product generates no value if it is not what the customer demand.
It is not the great work of an engineer generating value.
The company can not be isolated, you should hear the voice of the customer to develop a product according to their needs, not to taste the developer. You can not expect to know the opinion of the customer when the product being manufactured, we must have your help in the design.
This is not to adjust to a manufacturing technology or some assets that we have.
Nor it is most valued product for their manufacturing source. You have to know the final customer and adapt to local needs.
We can not be content with what we make, with the assets that the company already has and adjust the price to get him out.
Value chain

We have clarified that the value is created by the product itself. But to achieve this final product, before, they have been several processes. The set of specific actions required that a product passed by the three main areas of running a business is what we call value chain. And all three areas are:

Design, trying to solve a customer need.
Information management: from receipt of order to delivery to the customer
physical transformation: from raw material to finished product in consumer hands
In the analysis of the value chain it is determined the steps that create value, so the customer is willing to pay, and all those points where not generate value. In some cases there are tasks that create no value but are inevitable and necessary (eg welding inspection) and others are clearly a waste of resources and they can be dispensed with consequent savings in effort and material goods.

This analysis extends to suppliers, subcontractors and all parties involved (carriers, distributor, ..) until the product is in the hands of the consumer. What is sought is that customer needs are covered, either external customers or internal customer forgotten.

It is essential to create relationships “win to win” with those involved in the process of generating value. And align the objectives set in the strategy (delivery times, quality, product, materials, information). This implies a radical change, so far the secrecy was the weapon of defense to negotiate, but Lean requires transparency as the only means to achieve absolute trust and total control of the value chain.


Before settling in the production flow, it must be very clear definition of value and making the first screen waste disposal, mapping diagram of the value chain. The first steps will bring great benefits to the company and lay the foundations of lean thinking. Those wanting to go further and achieve excellence.

This new phase requires a total reorganization of management, it can be an absolute revolution in the way of conceiving the transformation of matter. The search for that matter, product and information flow through the stages of creating value. We talk about processes and not departments.

Of course this does not happen overnight, implementation of each tool requires read time training and consolidation, as well as control through indicators to assess economic performance is being obtained. Still not talking about long times, the benefits can be seen from the 4 month for the simplest tools up to a year for more complex.

Pull Production (JIT)

Lean wants companies to be flexible to the demand, resulting in the amount, time and place required levels of waste tending to zero. Today, competition and the increasingly dynamic society require changes in production to suit demand. The customer is changing and demanding deadlines also looking for a more customized product, more adapted to the specific needs of each individual. Lean tools help companies cope with these changes, to achieve a continuous production flow even with varieties of products. This is the ambitious goal of Lean management.


Lean implementation process does not end, as always exists and should be sought opportunities to reduce waste to a greater extent that do not add value to the product. Therefore, by monitoring and analyzing the implemented techniques, improvement teams must be open to further progress in the search for improvement.

Continuous improvement in the company of the XXI century

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