What is Lean?

Lean production methods, also referred to as simply "lean", is a method for waste minimization in a manufacturing cycle without sacrificing productivity and maximizing customer value. Lean means creating more value for customers with few resources. This idea manifests itself as a way of thinking, rather then it being a list of things to do. 

We understand that customer value is important, so we focus on key processes to continuously increase it. The whole idea is to change the focus of management, from optimizing separate technologies, assets and departments, to optimizing the flow of products and services through entire value streams that flow across the scope of production, and to the customers.

The overall goal is to get the highest quality, with the lowest cost and the shortest amount of lead time. This is where lean thinking comes into play. There is a sequence of the lean concept that goes like this: first you build, then you measure, and you learn from it. This cycle continues and allows you to create a lean strategy.

Principles of lean

Lean is what drives our company. We base our work upon the five principles of lean. This thought process for guiding the implementation of lean techniques is a continuous way to improve workflow of any subject. Whether its workflow conditions or company software. 

  1. Specify value from the standpoint of the end customer by product family.
  2. Identify all the steps in the value stream for each product family, eliminating whenever possible those steps that do not create value.
  3. Make the value-creating steps occur in tight sequence so the product will flow smoothly toward the customer.
  4. As flow is introduced, let customers pull value from the next upstream activity.
  5. As value is specified, value streams are identified, wasted steps are removed, and flow and pull are introduced, begin the process again and continue it until a state of perfection is reached in which perfect value is created with no waste.

Striving to more lean work conditions has proven to be an super effective method of streamlining the workflow and improving the production efficiency.

How we apply lean in our software

Our software is build around the lean mindset. We made our user interface simple and quick to use. The touchscreen application main menu for example, uses a 4 by 4 tile screen. By using status notification colours, we can give our users very quick feedback on the current state of the situation at the production line. Various indicators show even more status feedback to the operators and management. 

Applications are build around user-friendliness, ease of use, and efficient usage. The desktop app is oriented around the mouse, since this is a very quick and organic way of controlling regular computer applications. We felt that this design suits our application best. Touchscreen feedback is also a very important control mechanism that we use with our other products. Not only the touchscreen client, but the PDA is all about quick and fluent control of the program. The overall user interfaces are always kept to a bare minimum of functionalities per screen, required by our customers. While offering a wide range of functionalities. Options within our programs are sorted, easy to locate and understand. 

During designing, coding, and finishing our products, we keep the thought process focused around lean. It allows us to lay a strong foundation, to which we can improve and expand upon. Our software keeps growing with more functionalities demanded by our customers. However, we keep in mind that earlier modules still need attending to, and they need to be improved over time. This constant evolution is what we believe to be a great product suited to lean standards.