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What is a Lean Process?


The Lean Enterprise Institute sums it up perfectly, "The core idea is to maximize customer value while minimize waste. Simply, lean means creating more value for customers with fewer resources". 

The core principle behind a lean process is focused on the customer. A lean process consistently seeks to deliver value behind as many customer touch-points as possible while minimizing unnecessary steps in the customer life-cycle.


The are detailed steps to the lean process methodology. One form of this process can be found in the Japanese model known as the, Kaizen Project PDCA (Cycle of Lean). Kaizen is a Japanese word which is a combination of two characters, kai which means "change" and zen which translates to "continuous improvement". PDCA is an acronym which breaks down the Cycle of Lean into four simple steps:

 The initial change resistance.  This is usually the first response once you speak a new language on engaging the culture to change.

The initial change resistance.  This is usually the first response once you speak a new language on engaging the culture to change.


1. Plan - Create a specific plan of change that defines the steps to make these changes.

2. Do - Execute the plan under controlled conditions, on a small scale.

3. Check - Evaluate the results of your execution. Verify the process has improved. If no improvement has taken place, go back and try it again. If results improve, consider implementing on a wider scale.

4. Act - Carry out the changes on a wider scale. Once adapted, update the current operating procedures.


Implementing Lean Process: Marketing your business


Here’s an example of how this process might work for your business. Let’s say you need to implement a marketing strategy to make sure people know about your local pet grooming business. Below is a simple outline on how to roll out an advertising campaign using the lean process methodology.


1. Plan – Outline specific steps you will take to market your business.


Will you be advertising? If so, where?

Will you be using social media to advertise? 

If so, what platforms make the best sense for your business? 

How much is your budget? 

Will you do it yourself or will you hire someone?


Once you know the answers to these questions, you’re ready to start taking action.


2. Do – Roll out the ad campaigns. If you've hired someone, make sure they report daily results (if you’re advertising on Facebook you will have access to a daily report). Make any adjustments as you move forward (such as changing the copy, changing the art direction or stopping or starting the campaign)


Once the ad campaign is completed, you will want to review the results.


3. Check – Analyze the results of the campaign. If you advertised on Facebook, was there an increase in page likes? Were there any phone calls made to your store to book appointments? Did you track and analyze the traffic of your website during the campaign?


If the ad campaign yieled positive results, then you can decide whether or not to roll the campaign out on a larger scale (such as on different social media platforms or even traditional media like print).


4. Act – If the results were favorable, then you can utilize the same techniques that went into the ad itself such as the copywriting, art direction, and ad placement. Keep making adjustments as you move forward.


Is there a way that you can utilize the lean process to add value to your customer's experience with your business model? Is there a way that a lean process can be used to help implement new tactics in your company? Will streamlining the way your business delivers a product to your clients help save the business time and money? If you've answered yes to any of those questions then perhaps you might be wondering:


How can you use a lean process in your business? 


By creating and implementing a process for changes you want to make in your business, you can easily track and adjust what worked and what didn't. Having a process in place minimizes the risks that are inherent in making changes in your business.

Reginald Swift