Lose the weight with lean business practices

How lean learning can positively impact how you do business.

May 9, 2018 - Author: Andy Hayes, Michigan State University Extension

“Doing more with less is about efficiency, but being lean is about appropriately allocating future resources for strategic growth.”
- Ajay M. Pangarkar & Teresa Kirkwood – Training Industry Magazine

Businesses can survive on existing education and practices they have always used, but sustainable growth requires a continuing expansion of knowledge to improve productivity. The knowledge gained is lean learning.

At its roots, lean principles and practices work to reshape a business’s culture to reduce waste, create an open management style that listens to employees and streamline workflow processes to utilize resources and increase productivity in every workspace. Lean principles are a continuous process of improvement focused on maximizing customer value.

Lean, a term first coined in the book The Machine that Changed the World, was used in reference to Toyota’s invention of the Toyota Production System, which improved workflow and product variety compared to Ford.

Although lean thinking is more frequently implemented within manufacturing, other industries such as healthcare, human resources and financial services had great success utilizing lean processes. These industries have boosted responsiveness to customer needs and utilized effective project management tools in their offices.

The Michigan Lean Consortium currently works to bring lean principles and tools to all kinds of organizations throughout Michigan in order to help them thrive. Through the consortium, Northwestern Michigan College (NMC) in Traverse City and North Central Michigan College (NCMC) in Petoskey offer lean training for multiple industries.

Michigan State University Extension’s partner Northern Lakes Economic Alliance (NLEA) supports the lean learning program as a beneficial guide to business management. NLEA collaborates with and assists businesses who have successfully implemented this program.

Michigan State University Extension has had a unique relationship with the regional economic development organization Northern Lakes Economic Alliance (NLEA) for more than 20 years. Recognizing the strength of combining resources, this partnership focuses on economic development, entrepreneurship growth and community infrastructure throughout a four-county region in the northwest Lower Peninsula, specifically Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan and Emmet counties. As a result, the NLEA utilizes resources offered through MSU Extension as it provides leadership to statewide programs sponsored by MSU Extension.

Tags: business, business development, economic development, msu extension


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