The ability to effectively and efficiently digitalize an organization’s value stream is, unquestionably, a source of future competitive advantage. Identifying and integrating the most appropriate digital technologies into the value stream requires a profound understanding of all related business processes, as well as a sound understanding of what the technologies offer and their relative maturity. As with Lean management, developing the required capability and establishing the required mindset throughout the organization remains a top management issue. The more employees and managers adopt this new digital Lean mindset, the sooner efforts to digitalize will succeed in delivering step changes in business performance.
To achieve success and overcome traditional barriers, companies need to ensure that Lean principles are well integrated into their digital transformation. To do so, and to fully exploit their digital potential, companies should perform the following four actions:
Use Lean principles to radically simplify the value stream. A digital greenfield design can help identify the digital potential in the value stream.
Select the right building blocks based on their specific value creation potential. This requires broad and profound knowledge of state-of-the-art technologies.
Avoid digital shortcuts. Such workarounds typically fail or lead to disappointing or unsustainable results.
Start developing a Lean digital capability that will form the basis for a long-term and sustainable competitive advantage. This implies an organizational cultural change and requires top management attention.
Completing these actions will allow companies to achieve radical shifts in performance levels by combining digital and Lean.
[For more from the authors on this topic, see “Digital Lean Management: Unlock Potential and Achieve Higher Performance Levels.”]