What is lean and why does it matter?
With pressures on budget and headcount but ever-increasing demands for insightful analysis and actionable outputs, we believe lean offers a set of practices and principles that can give more for less, increase agility, demonstrate smart management of budgets and ultimately better meet stakeholders' needs. There are lessons here for one-person departments and larger insight teams…anyone who wants to work their insight assets harder, faster or with a lower cost base.
We have learned a lot in the 20 years we have been trading, and the adaptation of lean principles across our business has helped minimise waste and ensure strong value exchange for our customers and our shareholders. This paper shares our tips for success when delivering insight in a lean business and how to adopt lean principles without comprising on the impact you have within your organisation.
Before we start it is worth taking a bit of time to consider what we mean when we talk about 'lean'. It is a term that has been applied to a variety of different sectors and processes. At its heart lies a simple concept – that of returning maximum value for customers while minimising any waste. The concept was developed to describe the practices within Toyota during the 1980s, when an academic observed their ways of working. That academic, Jim Womack, went on to write the seminal work on 'lean', Lean Thinking, alongside Dan Jones. For many this remains the key doctrine on how to think, act and orientate your business to lean practices. Indeed their focus on purpose, people and process provides the perfect jumping off point for our paper, dealing as it does with the key pillars that support an entire organisation – theirs was a vision that saw lean at the heart of a business…hence similar practices were so often labelled by the organisation adopting them – the Toyota Production System, the Danaher Business System, and more.