Businesses can be complex things – lets face it no business ever runs completely smoothly and problems can come in all shapes and sizes from defects caused by manufacturing failures to inefficient business processes resulting in higher costs and lower margins.

The good news is that improving your business doesn’t have to be complicated, there’s a variety of simple lean tools and concepts that are both accessible and easy to implement – all of which can contribute to improving your businesses

In the list below we list 5 top tips from the world of lean which can help your business thrive – got more – add your tips in our comments section below.

1. Capture your processes with Value Stream Mapping

Value stream mapping is a process mapping tool that can be used to evaluate and understand the flow of information and materials within your organization. Its equally suited to manufacturing and service organizations and through its use of data can provide an accurate picture of the state of your business, showing you the good and the bad – an ideal start point for any lean programme.

2. Reduce the 7 Wastes

The seven wastes are a concept of categorizing business inefficiencies. By analyzing your business processes and targeting reduction within each category of waste, efficiency gains can be achieved and your business streamlined.

3. Utilize Poka Yoke

Eradicating errors is crucial to any business. Errors cost money and impact customer satisfaction. By introducing simple measures to trap and stop errors organizations can not only save costs but also become more efficient. Poka Yoke is the concept of error proofing through using visual aids – and whats more its quick and easy to implement.

4. 5S

With the premise that everything in the workplace has it’s place – 5S is a business tool that aims to install and maintain a clean and standardized workplace, ensuring that only when things are required are they bought into the workarea. By improving the workspace the business lays a foundation for future improvement programs.

5. Implement a Pull System

Pull systems such as Kanbans help reduce the number of items in work in progress. The various stages of the production process aim to pull resources along the production line so for example as inventory is consumed just enough inventory is reprovisioned to meet the task in hand. Pull systems also aim to eliminate variation in lead times and batch sizes.

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