One of the biggest benefits of using lean in services is that it can help make seemingly ‘invisible’ service processes visible. Unlike manufacturing where it’s easy to see the product being created moving down the line, steps in many service processes take place inside people’s heads or behind computer screens. So, using visual techniques to make those steps visible is extremely helpful in services. Problem is, people often mistake making something visible for ‘visual management’. If information about a process is posted for everyone to see, but problems aren’t noted and then addressed, all we’ve done is put up a billboard. It’s only ‘visual management’ if the information being made visible is used to actually ‘manage’ both the process and its outcomes!

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