I often talk about the importance of process in a business and the value of building those processes so you get a good result every time. Some of my business colleagues find this a puzzling concept, so I refer them to the book Lean for Dummies. Many of the “For Dummies” books are actually quite good because they assume you don’t know anything so they start at the very beginning. They also tend to use plain English and avoid jargon. The subject of lean enterprises – in all its forms – is certainly one that has a lot of jargon, so if you are going to learn anything about it, this is a good book to start with.
The book clearly explains the value stream. Value comes from producing things that the customer is willing to pay for. When done correctly, this activity enhances or improves the product. When applied to processes, the value stream concept is how all our activities line up and produce an end result. In lean thinking the idea is to add value and eliminate waste. I believe that everyone can apply these principles to their activities and come out with a better result.
Lean grew from the first totally integrated assembly line process of Henry Ford to the Toyota company when the owners decided there was a need to produce the highest quality cars. It has now morphed into almost every way of thinking about running a business. The concept is tossed around loosely and sometime not in an appropriate manner. But the core concepts of lean are fabulous and you can put them to work for you. I suggest a good place to start is with this book.
President, Business 360 Northwest