How Mature is Your Lean Program?- Technology

Thursday, May 5th, 2011 : 2 Comments

This week, we will wrap up our Holistic Lean journey. The holistic lean approach focuses on people, process and technology. Over the past two weeks, we have discussed the people and process in great detail, but this week we are focusing on technology. Technology is critical to the lean process. Sure, a company needs the right people and processes to achieve desired results but what supports those people and processes? That’s where the technology comes into place.  Employees must be able to take the data collected by the software systems and make better decisions.

Let’s refer back to the chart from our original Holistic Lean post.

Maturity Levels
Needs Improvement Competitive Advantage Through Lean
  • Lack of employee engagement
  • Poor communications
  • Significant investment in training
  • Ideas from workforce
  • Forecast-driven push
  • Financial metrics based on internal efficiencies
  • Demand-driven pull
  • KPIs based on customer satisfaction
  • Lack of investment in equipment
  • Manual decision support tools
  • Investment in tools to support people
  • Automated, scalable business intelligence analytics


In this chart, you can clearly see the difference between a company that needs lean improvement and one that has a clear competitive advantage by using Holistic Lean. Notice how a focused investment is needed in the technology processes for the company to achieve their desired results and to support their people and processes that are currently in place.

CP Kelco, a specialty chemical manufacturer is a great example of a company that proves how an investment in technology can help a company in the long run. Initially, the company focused their implementation on a single plant in Denmark, utilizing Pull Inventory Replenishment software to turn data from the ERP system into actionable information enabling demand-driven pull. After this plant saw dramatic improvements, they leveraged the same software to scale these best practices across their global manufacturing network, including multiple plants in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. This software has since allowed CP Kelco to sustain and expand the benefits for three years and counting.

Has your company taken a closer look at the current technology that is being used lately? What types of technology programs does your organization have in place to achieve your desired results?

2 Responses to How Mature is Your Lean Program?- Technology

  1. As business grows, expect that demands may also increase especially in manpower and technology. Software programs (inventory program, for example) are really useful in improving the manpower of every business. These may help save cost, time, and lessen mistakes in checking inventories. Before deciding to install some software in your system, it is advisable that you gain knowledge before using them.

  2. Pingback: Is Technology Needed When Becoming Lean | Invistics

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