A great session on Lean Thinking?

In the previous post I referred to the Adelaide BPTrends Forum session that I attended, presented by Professor Peter Hines. I want to elaborate on what I got out of the session.

1. It is important to understand the fundamentals of the business and it’s strategy – common-sense management.

2. It is vital to understand how the business creates value for it’s customers. Customer surveys often focus on the products or services offered, not the experience that created the real value for the customer. Quite often organisations are not very clear about who their real customers are!

3. A good understanding of strategy and customer value leads to the ability to select to improve the processes that will be critical to achieving the organisations aims.

4. Detail this in a Purpose Statement, a practical communication about What we will do, How we will do it and What the outcome will be, including what the Critical Success Factors are and are we measuring the right metrics to achieve them?

Now the Process Improvement work can begin –

5. Understand the problem, what is the root cause and what opportunities exist to improve.

6. Ensure you have the right level of support. If Senior Managers are not behind the initiative and eager for success, then sucess is always going to be a big challenge.

Overall, a great session.

What has happened to common sense management?

Professor Peter Hines gave an excellent presentation on Lean Thinking to 30 BPM practitioners at the Adelaide BPTrends forum tonight.

Peter’s presentation covered a case study, demonstrating how a company used Lean Thinking to create a new strategic direction, execute organisational change and redesign their processes for greatly improved outcomes.

What struck me during the discussion was that the analysis and decision making techniques used were not ground-breaking, not proprietary and definitely not special. The techniques used were mainly common sense strategic management – understanding vision, setting goals, performing the analysis and executing change.

The only difference to what I got taught in the MBA unit on Strategic Management was to start the strategic process with obtaining a clear idea of how the organisation could create real value for their customers.

So the question for me was, has the wave of Process Management ideologies, tools and systems led senior managers to think they can achieve all the benefits of a Process Centric organisation without undertaking common sense strategic management?

Every Business Process Management project should be part of a Strategic Management initiative to assist the senior manager to change their organisation or business unit. The senior manager still needs to lead the development of strategy and execute organisational change, Process Improvement methods simply provide a new efficient and effective way to help achieve the desired outcomes.

Peter has setup a Lean Enterprise group on LinkedIn – “Lean Enterprise Australia & New Zealand”. I was very impressed with Peter’s presentation. Thanks to Ben Haigh (BPTrends Adelaide coordinator) and the University of South Australia for organising the event.