Think Lean is just for manufacturing? Think again.

Posted by GO Productivity

July 25, 2019

Productivity improvement can be a hard sell in Alberta. When we talk to companies about what Lean can do for their business, we sometimes hear “Oh, Lean isn’t for us. We’re not a manufacturer” or “We’re busy so we’re doing fine.” It’s a common refrain. Especially if you don’t have an in-depth understanding of what Lean is all about and what productivity improvement can do.


Below, we share a video that perfectly illustrates how inaccurate this thinking is. Lean thinking can apply to almost any business. A New York City food bank is about as far from manufacturing as someone can get. Instead of profit, a food bank is trying to feed as many people as possible. Any savings in time or money that it can accomplish is translated into more people being fed, plain and simple.

As this video clearly and eloquently shows, it’s the little things that make a big difference. Something as simple as changing the size of the box that this food bank packages their hampers in and changing the way volunteers packed and distributed the boxes, enabled them to feed almost 400 more families in half the time. That is the kind of real and measurable success that Lean thinking can accomplish.

If you haven’t watched the video, we would highly recommend it. It’s a great example and primer to Lean principles. Volunteer Natalia pretty much sums it up, “If you have a good system, I think the work takes care of itself.”

If you have any questions about Lean or want to learn more about how it might apply to you and your business, give us a call. We’ll be happy to help.

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