Lean management can be defined as a combination of knowledge and tools which are used by organizations for the removal all non-value-added time and activity (or waste) from their processes. Whether we work for a government agency, small business, large corporation or any other organization, every company exists only to provide value to customers.
Lean is a set of methods and tools for improving a process as well as Lean is an improvement system, like the Toyota Production System (TPS), that establishes the framework for how the whole enterprise operates. As Lean is a tool used to improve processes, it’s also a philosophy and system by which to run an organization or company.
Now imagine an organization the size of the Indian Postal Service with 500,000 employees, 95,000 vehicles, and nearly 40,000 separate locations. Can you even imagine the work involved in delivering more than 700 million pieces of mail each day, excluding Sundays and holidays? That’s about 213 billion pieces of mail each year!
Further, can you imagine the waste and lost INRs caused by just one simple inefficiency that gets replicated throughout the entire system? Or the savings implications of making one replicable part of the system run a little better? You’re talking millions and millions of dollars sitting on the table, if not billions.
Every organization has plenty of chances to incur waste as they serve clients day by day. Waste and inefficiency are everywhere. Poor quality is everywhere. Because of this, everything we do is constantly subjected to the law of improvement: No matter how well or fast we do something today, we can improve the way you do it tomorrow.
And incidentally, improvement isn’t optional: it’s extremely necessary for survival. In Lean terms, this is called “striving for perfection,” which lies in the heart of Lean Six Sigma.