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Are SMEs really too small to get lean?

Technically ‘lean’ management within a business has no fixed criteria for how large the business must be or what type of products or services it must provide in order for lean thinking to work. A popular misconception is that lean is only suited to manufacturers, but this isn’t true.

Lean applies in every business and to every process, because it’s not a tactic or a cost reduction program, but a way of thinking and acting for an entire business. However, it is fair to say that the gains are perhaps proportionate to the size of business and as a result of implementing lean thinking, those in the manufacturing industries have long-since benefited from significantly reduced production and development costs together with increased production capability.

But why shouldn’t even small businesses benefit from a bit of lean thinking? They shouldn’t, of course, but the question is, where do you start when you don’t physically make products that will far more readily provide benchmarks as to how successful your lean working is? When the majority of your business is based around administrative processes and the provision of services, where could a small business start on the road to becoming a leaner, more competitive and profitable company?

…why shouldn’t even small businesses benefit from a bit of lean thinking?

Well, at Contedia, the value of our customer proposition is based on providing truly expert services and ensuring we go the extra mile, but with a small staff and only so many hours in a day, combined with the need to remain competitive and fair in our pricing model, we’re forced to begin with the individual, in their own roles. By investing a little time each in our learning and applying of lean thinking to our own role and then building on this understanding we’ve gained by extending the principles of lean thinking to the tasks and processes that touch more than one member of staff, right through to those which affect us all, we’re confident we can become more effective and more profitable…tech ninjas.

Our book for the month is “How to be a Productivity Ninja” by Graham Allcott. I’m encouraging my colleagues to read it with me, so that we can all start out on the same path and talk about our thoughts on how we can improve the amazing place that is Contedia!

Oh, and by the way, we’re still recruiting…

For more information call 01977 602869 or email