Lean: the bigger picture

bpm-optimization-lean“BPM is a fantastic basis for business optimization and improvement”.

Right now I am involved in a Lean program that helps the organization to be more customer focused and improve operational excellence. As said before, BPM focusses on the business process, the value chain, connecting customer need to customer value. Still, BPM is process focussed. In Lean, you look at different area’s. Not only the process matters, also the purpose and the people do matter. Maybe they matter even more? That is what I love about Lean:┬áLean gives a holistic approach to improving customer value, looking at the process, the purpose and at people.

Business is about people. Customers are people, organizations are people. Customer satisfaction is an experience, not only a fact, driven by running the best business process. Employee satisfaction is not only a figure, it is a key to effective collaboration and thriving customer value. This is what makes Lean ‘more human’. Lean is not a bunch of tools or models, it is a way of thinking, a way of life, a philosophy, it is about culture. BPM is a part of it, mainly focussing on process efficiency (as related to value for the customer).

It is important to focus on process efficiency. It is obvious that customers don’t want to pay for activities that don’t add value to the product or service they buy. Also, inefficient processes will ultimately put you out of business if you don’t optimize, since your competitors will. Waste is waste, that is where Lean is about: eliminating waste on all levels. The process is the most obvious level to find and eliminate waste. With Value Stream Management, you can draw the process and add the value of each process step. How long does it take, where do you have to wait, where does an activity add value (and where does it not)? Value Stream Management relates to BPM and is a very strong way to find and eliminate or reduce waste. Business Process Optimization is a means of reducing waste.

So, I’m still not saying that the process doesn’t matter, on the contrary, it does! What I am saying is: there is more.
Stay tuned.

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By Gerrit ten Haaken @ Paradime BV | April 11, 2012

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