Building a lean business isn’t a one-time event – it’s a continuous process that strives towards the complete optimization of time and resources.
Lean is not necessarily a destination, either. More, it’s a journey that you continue to go on as a business in the pursuit of optimizing the time and resources that you have at your disposal. If nothing else, it’s simply a sensible aspiration to have in a world where there are plenty of opportunities to waste.
In our latest blog edition, we’re going to demonstrate 5 ways that you can implement a lean business setup that both promotes the effective and efficient use of time and resources, whilst also leaving room for businesses to adapt to ever-changing markets and anticipate sudden and drastic changes.
Implementing a Lean Business Setup
Adopting a lean culture in your business is beneficial for so many reasons. It keeps businesses responsive to change, allows them to focus on the things that really matter, and allows them to be adaptable – even in the trickiest of market conditions.
Market conditions in the UAE and the GCC region continue to be optimistic overall – making it the optimal time to revise business setup and hone in on what really matters. While the region thrives and economic growth nearly doubles, businesses in the UAE and beyond should take the opportunity to revise how lean their business is while conditions are favorable.
Here are 5 ways to implement a lean business setup that will build the foundations of an efficient operation in the future:
1 . Understand Your Core Focus
The first of 5 ways to implement a lean business setup pays attention to the very heart of what your business pays attention to.
While building a lean business is achieved, in some parts, by reducing the time and cost put towards tasks that do not deliver considerable value to you, it is also important to have a very clear understanding of what tasks are absolutely essential to the success of your company.
This is primarily a focus on time and the dedication of this time towards tasks that add certain levels of value to your business.
Here’s a thought – lay out those tasks, and monetize them.
How much time are they taking? How much are you paying the person who is completing the tasks by the hour? What revenues do these tasks generate, or at least what revenues do they contribute?
Ultimately, do you need to do them? If you do, can you do them better? These are all vital questions to ask at the beginning of the process of how to build a lean business.
When market conditions change, and focus switches to your own internal processes, knowing the answer to this question will allow you to adapt swiftly and decisively. It is this responsiveness that steers businesses away from the rocks of recession when the wind is blowing heavily against them.
2 . Practice Continuous Improvement
Knowing how to build a lean business isn’t simply a one-time event – it needs constant attention. That is the essence of continuous improvement, after all.
A focus on continuous improvement allows companies to focus on streamlining their workflows, whilst also gathering valuable data and insights into how the business operates.
Continuous improvement can be achieved by observing processes, ‘walking the floor’ (seeing how quickly things move along, essentially), mapping procedures, and, crucially, gathering data.
Data is critical in lean business setups. To really understand how your business tackles the tasks it completes, insights are critical. If you are to truly understand how to build a lean business, gathering data and analyzing it forensically will be vital.
Nonetheless, this should be a constant focus. Whether you establish a Continuous Improvement Manager in your organization, complete regular workshops with teams, walk the floors, and talk to your employees who are doing the job, the focus should be on one thing – continuous improvement.
3 . Train Your Team
Just as building a lean business isn’t a one-time event, it isn’t a one-person task either. Consider a lean business to be culture – while it is practiced, it is also believed in.
Tasks focused on improvement aren’t just completed ‘because management said so, they’re completed because employees see the value in making changes.
Change is a funny thing – it’s not always easy to implement. This is particularly true in workplaces that have long-established ways of working. Does ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it come to mind?
But, if you want to know how to build a lean business, you should consider the critical importance of teaching your employees to be flexible, and open to change.
How do you do this?
- Tell them why! Don’t just tell them about change, and improvement, and lean – convince them about why it benefits them. Not just in the context of the wider business, but as individuals completing their daily tasks
- Provide training. There are a plethora of opportunities available to train your employees on the basics of lean principles. If you have the budget, hire a Lean Six Sigma expert to run workshops for your team, so they can go back to their day-to-day roles empowered with knowledge
- Change perspective. Put the focus on them, and how a culture that constantly looks to improve makes their job easier
4 . Make Lean A KPI
While Lean as a principle isn’t a KPI, measurable improvements certainly are.
It was earlier mentioned that it’s vital to gather data to truly understand the condition of a process. That data you gather during the process should then serve as a basis for improvement.
If this is what you’re achieving today, and you can identify through the data gathering process you’ve undertaken where your pain points are, you now have the starting point for establishing your operational targets for the coming months.
Making lean a KPI can be as simple as saying you want to reduce inventory by 10%, or improve the time taken to get parts from the warehouse to the shop floor by 15 minutes – the key is it has to be measurable and realistic to achieve.
Nonetheless, you’ve put all that effort into understanding the state of play – why wouldn’t you use it to improve your situation?
5 . Lead By Example
If you’re a business owner, or in a leadership role, you will already know the importance of this.
The UAE is full of inspiring business leaders, who practice what they preach in their company. When they set a vision, they don’t just expect others to blindly follow – they follow it themselves.
The last of the 5 ways to implement a lean business setup by sheer coincidence, leading by example is an absolutely crucial factor as, when considering the importance of all of the above factors that contribute to building a lean business, they simply have to be followed through by you, and the leadership team around you.
This is as much of a culture factor as a lean factor, although the two go hand-in-hand as previously demonstrated.
For Lean to become an integral part of the identity of your business, you have to truly believe in it. This will be demonstrated in the decisions you make on a daily basis, so ensure you’re leading by example.
Business Incorporation Zone & Lean Principles
We are firm believers in dedicating your time to the things you truly have a passion for. If you’re looking to start your own business, for example, it is driven by a passion for the thing you are selling.
The chances are, that the administrative burdens that coincide with business setup are not on the list of things you’re passionate about. However, we are passionate about bringing ideas to life, and turning dreams into fully-fledged companies, so we offer a helping hand with every aspect of the business setup journey.
Give us a call today if you’re looking to launch your dream business venture in the UAE – or beyond in the wider GCC region – and we’ll put your own time and resources back into the thing you’re passionate about, while we take care of the rest.
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