Developing a business strategy to ensure that an organization delivers maximum value to its customers can be a complex task. Large businesses are multi-faceted and made up from many elements and competencies. Ensuring that each element in the lean enterprise is operating to both its potential and also striving towards delivering maximum value requires much more than traditional lean tools alone.

A lean enterprise is typified by practices and policies that remove waste from its core business processes and ensure that the company focuses on the value add tasks that make up the “manufacture” of it’s product or service.

Traditional tools such as value stream mapping, 5s etc are only a small part of the toolset needed and can be considered general subsets of an improvement strategy. A much broader business strategy is needed to provide foundations on which to integrate value even deeper into a company’s ideology. What’s really needed is a combination of tools and methods and the development of a business system created specifically to manage and enhance the value stream.

So what should make up a business system? This will certainly be different from company to company and market to market but there are some common foundations which can be called upon. These are somewhat independent from the traditional lean enterprise concept but offer foundation and support for it to be sustained and developed.

Key parts will often include:

1/ Operational Excellence
• Proven best practice lean management tools and techniques such
o SCM (Supply Chain Management),
o Project Management,
o Six Sigma

2/ Planning and forecasting
• Strategic Planning,
• Financial Planning,
• Organizational Planning
3/ People strategy
• Training
• Policies and practices
• Communications
• Staff Assessment
• Ethics
4/ Business improvement
• Continual Improvement Programs
• Business process development
• Benchmarking

5/ Organizational Excellence
• Optimized Organization structure
• Optimized internal and external interfaces

Many of these disciplines will overlap and a winning business system is built upon making these best practice tools and techniques widely available. Planning and forecasting in particular should not be overlooked, ensuring that a business remains agile and knowledgeable enough of what’s coming around the corner can strike the balance to from being lean to anorexic with a business that fails to react and remain competitive.

Integrated Business systems are in place in most blue chip organizations are successful development can provide clear differentiation within the market place and focus organizations not only on best practice but also maximize the potential of the organization to provide value to its customers.

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