(Womack and Jones, 1996).
USA was the first country where the concept of "Lean" has been adopted in service or non-manufacturing concerns. (Womack and Jones, 1996). The advantages and benefits are now known and accepted by almost all top managers. However, there is still a bit of a hesitation in implementing "Lean" in service and non-manufacturing organizations. The reason is not that they do not want to implement the change but rather because they are unaware of the process involved.
This paper seeks to describe the modalities and implications of implementing "Lean" in service and non-manufacturing organizations with a reference to the concept of Kaizen as a Continuous Improvement (CI) agent.
Simply stated, Lean thinking is about achieving more with less. It is not about 'sweating the assets' but about carefully analyzing how best to achieve a given result with the purpose of utilizing resources to their best advantage. In broad terms Lean is usually defined as elimination of waste and things that do not add any value as defined by the customer.
It is also pertinent to note at this stage that "Lean" principles are alternatively known by a number of synonyms e.g. Lean Manufacturing, Lean Production, Toyota Production System, etc. But whatever the name given to the process, this definition holds well.
Advantages of Lean in Service Organizations
Lean is not just a concept to be implemented at various tiers; it is also a commitment at all levels that can bring about dynamic and far-reaching changes in the very culture of an organization. Its advantages are more pronounced and identifiable in manufacturing concerns but service and non-manufacturing organizations can also reap the same benefits. Some of the advantages of implementing Lean in service environment are as follows:-
It can not only improve the standard of services but also increase the competitiveness of the people involved.
It can resolve severe organizational problems by uniting the change efforts