LEAN, TPS and continuous improvement in ITSM (1 of 2)

17 de June de 2014



This article enumerates the types of waste that Lean Management techniques intend to eliminate. Perhaps you see one of your organization’s activities reflected here to which an improvement measure could be applied. Do you recognize yourself in the examples? If you do, then congratulations! You have just taken the first step toward improving.

Application of Lean Management to IT Service Management is a very hot topic, and there is extensive literature on Internet about it (e.g., here and here).

Although, this might all sound like something new, it is rather older than that. The pursuit of elimination of waste, which is the core principle of LEAN approaches, is the centerpiece of the philosophy and working methods of Toyota.

The TPS includes as its main activity for improvement the continuous elimination of waste or "muda" in Japanese; in other words, the elimination of anything that is wasteful and hence that does not contribute added value.

In his book on TPS, Jeffrey K. Liker describes the eight categories of wastefulness, in other words, the eight type of activities that do not add value and that we must make an effort to eliminate from our processes, which are:

  1. Overproduction.
  2. Avoidable waiting periods.
  3. Unnecessary product movements.
  4. Overprocessing.
  5. Excess inventory.
  6. Unnecessary movements of employees.
  7. Quality defects.
  8. Squandered creativity.

Merely reviewing these eight types of activities to be avoided will surely enable you to identify one that is taking place in your organization and on which you could focus for continuous improvement.
But there is no more space in this article, and so I hope that this introduction has piqued your interest. In a second installment, we will review these eight categories in detail.

Jose Luis Fernández

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