There are many ways of dealing with the problems of every-day business life. Most of the time we just cope – that’s the job isn’t it? We do what needs to be done, then get on with the next issue.
But isn’t that just storing up more problems for tomorrow? If we haven’t fixed (permanently) the issue that caused the extra work, then it will happen again. And again. And new issues will come up and add to the burden until everyone is snowed under.
Alternatively we can work out the root causes of problems and make changes to the underlying processes. Then we can be confident that the problems won’t happen again.
Effective problem solving is itself a process. Start with the facts; identify the problem; confirm that you have got to the root cause, or at least near to it; propose a solution that might work; test it; and if it works make it the new way we do things; if it doesn’t, modify it until it does work, or move on to test the next proposition. Then do it all again.
It is deceptively simple – Plan, Do, Check, Act. This form of structured problem solving has been used by Toyota to enormous effect for decades. It is used by many more of the most successful businesses across the world.
Lean Thinking is about teaching everyone in the business a structured way to identify and eliminate wastes. Making their lives easier and creating more value for customers