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Lean Methodology – Tech Talk

Lean Methodology Tech Talk

BotsAndUs solutions bring together very different disciplines and with that, different individual professional backgrounds. We all agreed that to build our team and keep performing at very high levels, we had to find a way to share information with each other. We thought this should be a fun activity where anyone can join and learn something outside their discipline and yet relevant to their daily work. This is how the Tech Talk series came to be. It is a chance for our team members to share interesting information with their peers and an opportunity for everyone to learn something new.

Andrius Motuzas, one of our very talented R&D engineers, has successfully kicked off the series with the most relevant first topic - the lean methodology. Although we already employ lean methodologies in almost every single thing we do at BotsAndUs, not all of us understood in detail the wider philosophy behind the processes. Most of us didn’t make conscious decisions to do our work in ‘the lean way’.

Andrius began his talk by taking us all through the historical context of the lean methodology - from the origins of standardised work in 1450’s Italy or 18th century mass craft production principles to Ford’s Flow production in 1913 and 1950s Toyota’s production system. The most popular philosophies enduring in today’s world are Ford’s and Toyota’s production systems. Most large companies employ one of the two or a combination of their principles.

Toyota’s production system is known today as LEAN. The lean methodology is a way of optimising the people, resources, efforts and the energy of your organisation towards creating value for the customer. It is based on two guiding tenets: continuous improvement and respect for people. Andrius briefly presented the Lean House - the architecture hierarchy of lean thinking and methodology - to then focus on the most relevant philosophies for BotsAndUs. Kaizen (continuous improvement), Genchi (go and see) and Mudea (waste) were philosophies our company would most identify with. The key tools we analysed were Kanban, 5S and Visual Management. These were the foundation to what Andrius presented as the BotsAndUs implementation of the lean methodology.

We wanted to make sure we’d implement LEAN in a practical and conscious way from now on. Making knowledge visible, part of the Genchi philosophy, was also the catalyst for this series. We acknowledged that each one of us employed personal knowledge at work every single day. This is how Andrius proposed we implement an easy way for everyone to share their knowledge such as observations, advice, information or tools through the Nano Knowledge forms. These are frequently distributed Google Forms where everyone can log in their advice and tips for the rest of the team.

Lastly, Andrius shared the following 5 principles as takeaways for practicing Lean in our everyday work regardless of our discipline:

  1. Reduce system complexity
  2. Be aware of the waste, weather of materials, time or energy
  3. Know the requirements from all stakeholders
  4. Take ownership and deliver
  5. Learn from others and continuously improve

It is the knowledge that didn’t naturally find its way to others that could make all the difference.

How do you implement LEAN in your company and daily work?