Lean concepts in communication – Unnecessary information movement

We have been talking about the possibility of applying lean principles in communication to achieve a lean communication system. Today we will look at one of the wastes we find everywhere in communication channels. This is the unnecessary movement of information.

Information must go only to the people who really want them. Also this information must be useful and meaningful for the people in the communication process. Otherwise this information will not be useful for the people who receive them. This will waste the time of people. This movement of information does not add any value to the process of communication. This also takes additional resources of the system.

Unnecessary movement of information from one party to another can lead to alterations and distortions of the meaning of the messages. Misinterpretation of information also will be resulted from this. Needless to say that this is going to lead to problems.

Lean manufacturing and human resource handling

I published an article on the importance of HR in lean manufacturing implementation recently. Summary is available below

When we talk about lean manufacturing, we think about kaizen, kanban JIT etc. But we rarely realize the importance of the human resource in the context of lean manufacturing. In fact human resource is the most important for any lean manufacturer. So the success of lean manufacturing is based on the effective handling of human resource.

Making awareness among workers on lean manufacturing, assisting in managing the change and leading by example to other people in the organization are among the important tasks HR department can perform to assist lean manufacturing efforts.

Day to day lean examples – Applying 5S concepts to your desktop

People think lean manufacturing is only for big industries and organizations. They do not think about the possibility of using these concepts in day to day basis. Every major concept and tool can be used in day to day life to make the life easy and use our resources efficiently.

Want an example and an activity which will make you believe in this. Minimize this window and have a look at your desktop. How many icons are there on it? How often do you use them? Does your desktop looks nice? If your answer is yes then you have done a good job. Keep it up. If your answer is no for these questions you can do a simple exercise in order to rearrange your desktop and feel the difference. If you really want to monitor the difference you can do a simple study on the time taken to find a file now, and after applying 5S principle to your desktop.

Now in to the business, first you will have to learn about 5S. After reading this webpage now you can sort all the documents on your desktop. Sort them according to a logic. For an example first of all you can sort them as wanted and unwanted. Then you can discard the unwanted documents and then arrange the required documents according to the projects they belong to or according to the importance they should get. Then you can rename the folders accordingly and then keep the folders which are accessed frequently on the desktop and others in some other drive. You can save time in searching and accessing the documents every time you want to open any document. Although this seems simple, application of 5S in an area like this can save you lot of time and make you feel better.

After you do the initial cleaning you will have to keep it up and continue good habits. When you want to save a file think where should it go and save in that folder not on your desktop. Lean manufacturing imparts a very high importance on the sustainability of good habits.

So you don’t need to have a big organization to implement lean manufacturing concepts. You can start with your desktop and implement 5S principles, and feel the power of this simple tool.

Lean concepts in communication – Data Accumulation

We have been discussing the possibility of using lean concepts to achieve smooth communication process. Communication is one of the very important processes of any organization. Therefore it is very important for any organization to streamline and manage their communication process whether they go through a lean manufacturing transformation or not.

Today our focus is on lean concept of WIP in the field of communication. WIP is the mirror of waste in lean manufacturing context. Higher the work in progress in any organization, more the problems they have in their process. This is true for the communication process as well. Organizations can have many pieces of data which are not being used or waiting for processing. This can be treated as the WIP in communication process. Problem with data accumulation is that it can lead to problems and loss of data. This also complex the processes.

Why data is being accumulated in any organization. This is because these data has been received before they are actually required or because they are not possible to convert into proper system inputs due to the problems and delays in them. This is identical to the over production and waiting in the manufacturing context.

Today communicating is very simple task. It will take only seconds to communicate even between continents. This has also contributed to the problem of overloading with information and receiving and sending information before they are required. In either case this will lead to problems. It is very important to understand the communication processes well and use the tools available wisely according to the requirements. This is why just in time processing of information is becoming increasingly important today.