Lean Company: What It Means for Dean Cabinetry and Our Customers

Kevin Dean | Kitchen Designer | Dean Cabinetry

By: Jenny Cazares

What does “Lean” mean to a company?

Lean means eliminating waste; some may say, “trimming the fat” or maximizing value while eliminating waste. Either way, when a company decides to become a lean company, their main goal is not only to save money, but be more efficient and bring a greater value to the customer, for superior satisfaction.

Dean Cabinetry – Planning

What are the 7 Principles of a Lean Business?

Optimize the whole

Each company operates through a value stream; this is a system of processes that take place to deliver a quality end product to the customers. A lean company will look at the whole process instead of only the ones that are not working.

Eliminate Waste

Waste can be determined by too much unnecessary work in a process or time spent completing a task. A lean company will eliminate any activities that are not a value to the customer.

Build in Quality

A lean company will use testing and strategies to ensure quality throughout their processes. Instead of quality checking at the end of a process, it is built in early, in all areas of processes and adhered to throughout.

Dean Cabinetry – Install Team

Faster Delivery

A lean company will focus on delivering value to the customer; fast and efficiently along the way. This way the customer can give feedback which is essential in development. This process will give the customer exactly what they want, while saving time throughout the process.

Creating Knowledge

A lean company will be transparent with their employees and their customers. They are constantly learning and will test new processes; when there’s a change in a process, it’s important that this information is shared throughout the company.

Defer making a commitment

This is a lean principle that encourages business owners to wait until the last minute to make decisions, within reason; this will allow you to make the most up-to-date and most relevant decisions.

Respect People

A lean company creates environments that will allow their employees to do their best work.This is the most important principle and without it, nothing else works. Just as businesses show respect to their customers it is equally important to respect your employees and value their input for growth.

How does a company become lean?

They evaluate their business and determine where there is waste; waste can come in many forms, a business owner will need to look at all areas of their business.

An owner may hire a professional company that evaluates waste; this will help an owner determine where the waste is coming from and how to eliminate it.

Dean Cabinetry – Team Meeting

What are the 8 factors in company waste?

There are many ways in which waste can be found in a company, these are the 8 most common components of company waste.

Defects which lead to additional resources, time and money to remedy.

Overproduction is workers producing blindly, while receivers in the process are not ready for them.

Waiting Time is when work is interrupted due to limited materials or equipment being down.This could also be an issue if work is handed off from one process to another.

Transportation waste can result in time, money and damaged products if not properly executed.

Inventory excess is when the supply exceeds the demand.

Motion waste is processing movement which does not add value, such as a poor layout or not having work standards in place.

Excess processing is when processes are poorly designed such as multiple versions of the same task or doing unnecessary tasks that do not bring value (time wasters). 

Not utilizing talent means that insufficiently used talents, abilities and knowledge of people has a tremendous impact on any company. Not-utilizing talents directly impacts employee motivation and has a direct impact on productivity. 

What are the benefits to working with a lean company?

  • More efficient processes meansmore input, testing and evaluating leads to increased productivity.
  • Reduced operating costs means decreasing lead or cycle times.
  • Increased “team” productivity means spending less time putting out fires and more time focusing on quality and value.
  • Better employee morale means that every employee understands their role; the processes are transparent and their input is valuable in the growth of the company. 
  • Delivering consistent customer value means delivering value through increased quality throughout the process, which leads to great customer satisfaction.
Dean Cabinetry – Model Kitchen

What kind of model does a lean company follow?

A commonly used model of continuous improvement is the PDCA model, which stands for Plan, Do, Check, Act. 

This model encourages teams to test changes and document learnings throughout a process, in order to constantly be improving. This will help them build better quality throughout their processes.

Value Stream Mapping is a process in which teams visualize the steps of each process so they can be evaluated and improved over time. This is important and commonly used where there are repeatable steps; where work is handed off from one to another. Inefficiencies can be determined and improved.

Metrics is a process that measures quality and efficiency. Lean businesses will look closely at lead times and cycle times throughout each process. It is important to be transparent throughout this process and shared with employees so they can visualize key performance indicators. This transparency encourages shared responsibility of process improvement which enhances customer value.

Why is it important to work with a lean company?

Choosing to work with a lean company will bring more value to the customer. Lean companies reduce unnecessary costs which allow them to offer the best value to their clients.

At Dean Cabinetry the customer will receive exceptional customer service, and their input as a consumer is essential, and welcomed.

When a lean company can eliminate waste and continuously improve processes, they will thrive and grow. By eliminating time, waste and unnecessary resources the company can focus on delivering consistently superior products and services to the customer at reasonable costs, instead of paying for resources they don’t need. It’s a “win” for everyone!