Just in Time, Lean Manufacturing or even the Toyota Production System has grown beyond manufacturing into Lean Business. As business professionals get better at Lean, they find more applications for it. Distribution, healthcare and even banking are all candidates. But there is more to Lean than just systems, it is a way of thinking. Understanding what the customer really wants and determining what is truly value creation will unlock many truths – good and bad – about your business.
Modern business is based on grouping things together (or batching) for processing all at once by a specialist. But if you agree there is a cost to sit, you realize batching is bad. Take for example, a loan application – it may sit on a banker’s desk for three days until the banker has a sufficient number of applications to make the task worth her time. The manager focuses on the number processed, not the time total processing time. In the meantime the customer gets annoyed by the wait and is more likely to listen to the bank’s competition.