Lean is a customer-centric management model that focuses on providing value by eliminating waste and increasing quality.

qué es lean - conceptos clave

Focusing on the client means that a process, person or organization receives the results of another process or others, such as a product or service.

Value is provided by satisfying a customer’s requirements. The way Lean does this is by eliminating the wastes and obstacles that prevent the continuous flow of one or more processes that deliver their results to a customer.

In turn, Lean contributes to ensuring quality by reducing defects in the output delivered to the customer.

Therefore, adopting Lean means making the customer the center of attention by capturing their specifications or requirements, and satisfying them using value-added processes, operations, procedures, tools and techniques that the customer deems valuable.

For example, any process or operation that does not satisfy the customer can be considered as “non-value added” and can therefore be considered for disposal.

Therefore, value added means those processes, operations, procedures, tools and techniques that add characteristics to the product or service that the customer is willing to pay, while features that are not value-added do not contribute to what the customer wants .

Of course, non-value-added items and services must be eliminated, which is the fundamental reason for Lean adoption.


Lean is based on several key concepts:

Focus on the customer. Every effort is focused on ensuring that the organization meets the requirements of the client, nothing more and nothing less.

The customer becomes the reason of existence of the organization. The lack of customer focus is, from a Lean perspective, a prescription for failure.

Remove waste. Anything that disrupts meeting customer requirements needs to be eliminated. Waste not only interferes with the satisfaction of customer requirements; They also add up to the operating costs that hinder an organization’s optimal performance. The concept of waste is also called molting.

Distinguish between added and non-added value. The processes, operations, procedures, tools and techniques that contribute to satisfying customer requirements are considered value-added; Those who do not contribute have no added value. Non-valued waste is waste and, therefore, must be disposed of.

Focus on the Pull. Jalar is the standard in which the fulfillment of the demands of the clients is based on satisfying the existing demand. By giving preference to pull, waste such as excessive inventory or overproduction can be eliminated more easily. Of course, Jalar requires a continuous process flow to satisfy demand; The waste obstructs, interrupts and sometimes stops the continuous flow.

Standardization. The uniqueness is fine, however, for the agile delivery of a product or service standardization is fundamental. Standardization, from a Lean perspective, applies to processes, operations, procedures, tools and techniques so that the continuous flow can occur; The preparation times are reduced and the cycle time improves.

Take advantage of technology. Although not Lean’s focus, technology is seen as a facilitator of processes, operations, procedures, tools, and techniques. The technology serves as a means to eliminate obstacles such as delays in the form of bottlenecks. Technology must also be seen as an aid to people to fulfill their responsibilities when meeting the needs of customers.

Interdependence and integration (system). The continuous flow of one or more processes requires that each element within it provides the output needed to serve as input to the other elements that depend on it, it is interdependence. All elements must also work together, ie integration. Through interdependence and integration a continuous flow can occur with little or no waste. The best way to appreciate the concepts of interdependence and integration is to consider the organization as a complex system consisting of processes that depend on one another and work together to operate effectively and efficiently. An organization that adopts Lean works with a system; Everything that disrupts efficiency and effectiveness is a waste.

Find more information, less data. Since the emergence of information technology the world has been flooded with data, not information. Data are facts that have no intrinsic value; The information Are data converted into intrinsic value. The effort to produce and possess too much data is wasteful. It is a waste because people have to spend time trying to analyze and interpret them. This action can disrupt the continuous flow and divert valuable resources that could have focused on meeting the customer’s needs. From a Lean perspective, information is the king, not the data. With information, important decisions can be taken more easily and quickly, and waste identified and eliminated. Continuous flow.

Lean requires continuous flow based on customer demand. Ideally, all processes, operations, procedures, tools and techniques allow continuous flow to meet customer requirements. In reality, no process is perfect and the resulting waste interferes with the continuous flow. Nothing is more. Redundancy and obsolescence are two examples of the opposite of this concept. In the past, having large inventories, for example, was considered a natural way of doing business to compensate for shortcomings such as unforeseen problems with products. Today, the Pull system is the preferred way of doing business.

Through Jalar, redundancy and storage are done to a minimal or non-existent level. Pulling demand requires a continuous flow system that provides a product or service that meets customer requirements as they arise. Of course, more facilities and storage not only increase costs, but also need to focus on activities that do not add value. Modulate. Standardization allows the ability to modularize, which means mixing and combining components of a manual and / or automated system that supports a flow of value.

Creating a system in modules provides greater flexibility to meet customer requirements by manipulating components Or subsets in ways that can reduce waste. For example, certain functionalities of a software application can be modified more easily by reducing the impact of a significant change in configuration if libraries are created or replacing the equipment in a work cell can occur More easily if it is based on a common standard, thus reducing setup times.

The less a component is based on a common standard, the more time and labor required to make a change, adding effort to the preparation times that affect Cycle time and, ultimately, waste. Look for simplicity and flexibility. Lean seeks simplicity in design by adopting standards and modularization. Complexity leads to waste. Through complexity, adapting to changing requirements or solving problems in a value stream can require a lot of time and effort. This time and effort to unravel and understand a situation interferes with doing the Timely delivery to the customer extending cycle time and does not meet customer requirements in a timely manner. Through standardization and modularization, simplicity becomes possible.

Flexibility is also made possible by allowing participants in a value stream to rearrange the parts, so to speak; To determine the cause of a problem; It is very important to arrive at a solution quickly and with less effort. Pursue the quality at the source.

Under Lean, quality is fundamental to satisfy the customer. The best way to deliver quality is to address it at source, for example, during design and development. Traditional ways of dealing with quality, such as quality inspections, are not part of Lean. Inspection just before delivering a product or service to a customer is a waste. It requires overhead costs in terms of manpower and can lead to rework of parts, which adds to the costs that are passed on to the customer.

It can also mean slowing the cycle time by obstructing the flow of value. Failure to address quality at its source can lead to returns and legal complications that will not only end in a degree of dissatisfaction on the part of the client, but can also harm the financial funds of the organization. Adhering to a holistic perspective. Lean requires a broad picture perspective, it is about having the ability to look beyond the organization.

Participants in a value stream see how all components work together and what impact their responsibilities have on it as well as on themselves. By adhering to this perspective, participants begin to appreciate the importance of their roles and others in contributing to customer satisfaction. For example, failure of a function in a value stream can affect when a product or service is intended Deliver. it Has specified a customer. The interdependence and integration, mentioned above, are significant contributors to the success of a value stream.

Charts play a significant role in Lean in many ways. They are used to capture and improve process flows. They are used to stop production when a problem arises. They are used to reflect progress in relation to key performance indicators. They are used to communicate information at various levels of an organization. This visualization is less in the visualization of data and more in the information so that decisions and actions can be taken quickly and efficiently to guarantee the continuity of the flow of value based on demand. Semaphore diagrams and scorecards are just two examples of how to use the visualization in Lean. Strategy and Operations Link.

In many organizations, particularly the large ones, the strategy sometimes seems disconnected from the operations. Under Lean, considerable efforts are made to ensure that this situation does not occur, by having everyone up and down the chain of command, entering into the Lean mentality , And focusing on meeting customer needs, the strategic and operational layers of a company act as one. Strategic and operational layers begin to adhere to a holistic perspective and seek to reduce waste in daily performance and deliver a product or service to a customer. Visualization plays a key role in tracking and reporting progress in Which refers to linking strategy and operations and encouraging employees at all levels to get directly involved wherever the action occurs. Generate trust and credibility.

Lean emphasizes trust in the people who do the work by capitalizing on their talents and knowledge. That means allowing people to appropriate and propose ideas to improve the performance of the process in a flow of value. Applying this concept, of course, requires management to trust and place the trust in people to do what is right in terms of satisfying the customer through process improvement. It also means that management commits itself to not Dismissing people as a result of making non-salary contributions to satisfy a client; Doing otherwise will destroy employee trust and trust in management. Credibility and trust need to flow up and down the chain of command so that Lean remains a sustainable activity within an organization. Changing organizational culture. Lean simply does not happen once executive leadership enacts it as the new philosophy behind the way of doing business.

The basis must be established for Lean to become a reality. Lean requires setting the context for it to become a sustainable reality. It is imperative, therefore, that the culture of the organization changes; Rarely is culture conducive to Lean having an easy position in an organization: reliance on subordinates and empowering them to appropriate not only their immediate responsibilities, but also the control and authority of their operations From a perspective of improvement, training people in Lean concepts and tools and allowing them the time to participate in improving processes are just a few cultural changes that must occur.

To a large extent means that managers and the Top management should change the style of control to a support and share information and even authority and responsibility with the people down in the organizational hierarchy. In theory, that seems innocuous; However, it is actually harder than many people think, especially in traditional corporate environments. Looking for perfection through continuous improvement. Lean relies heavily on the concept of continuous improvement.

The idea is to seek perfection in everything that is done in the work environment. This quest for perfection does not come about in a revolutionary way, but gradually progresses through an iterative cycle. This quest for perfection occurs at all levels of an organization and everything a person does.

The Japanese term, kaizen, represents the pursuit of perfection in everything people do. The approach is to actually pursue the pursuit of perfection instead of simply talking about it. The PDCA cycle (to plan, do, verify, act), also known as the Deming cycle, is the way to achieve perfection. This wheel is repeated, rolling its way to a destination, perfection.Educate people.

To successfully implement Lean, people must have the Understanding and knowledge on the subject. That means that management must invest in education and training, not only from the bottom up, but also from themselves.Lean requires a total commitment in the provision of value to the client and for this requires that almost all have the knowledge and the necessary understanding of Lean concepts, tools and techniques. People do not change overnight and sometimes require considerable effort to unlearn, as much as learn, about Lean. Over time, people can gain additional knowledge and understanding through more training and experience as they address individual and group projects involving Lean. Communicate up, down, and sideways.

Lean deals with people who provide value to people. The best way to communicate is more than pontificating people about Lean; Requires communication through an organization, to and from the machine operator on the corner of a manufacturing floor to the company president. This communication goes beyond simply talking to each other about Lean and making proposals for their Implementation, but it is also important. It is essential to listen to others to understand, from a customer perspective, what is of value. It is also about listening to peers to capitalize on their knowledge and get recommendations for improvement.

Communication must be continuous to promote the pursuit of perfection in everything. Walk with talk or be congruentes.Cuando our talk goes one way and our walk goes to the other, we become a headless rarity. When our talk moves with our walk, it increases credibility. People, from the administration to the base employee, must live the Lean philosophy. They must perceive, think and act accordingly. They must become true believers by showing a willingness to learn about Lean, to change old habits, and to embrace new ones in their environment. They should also be willing to go where the action is, which includes everyone in the chain of command.

That means going to the client’s environment and learning and observing everything relevant, and then using that knowledge, changing relevant processes and procedures that will increase value for the client. When walking with the talk, people will also begin to make the necessary mental change to a Lean perspective.

what is Lean? Key factors for lean implementation

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