In a previous post we explored Lean technology and the role it can play in successful programme deployment. One of the tools covered was the Lean app as a form of communication and information sharing, which can be particularly useful when workers are based in different sites or working remotely. In this blog we take a closer look at Lean apps and their potential use.
In the field to in your pocket
The challenge of information sharing is that much of the evidence of Lean’s success is seen ‘in the field’ – a whiteboard on a factory wall, a new stock control system in the warehouse – and is hard to disseminate effectively throughout the rest of the business. With Lean apps, all information can be shared instantly and widely, easily accessible by anyone with a smartphone in their pocket.
Whether it’s a new best practice standard for the production line, a set of figures showing reduced lead times or a Kanban board, you can film it, scan it or upload it to the app and make it instantly available to colleagues. This closure of the information gap means that the efficiency of your Lean programme deployment is reflected in your communications processes too, saving time and expense. Indeed, research shows that mobile apps can boost employee productivity by more than 34%.
In order to achieve continuous improvement, it’s necessary to bring together ideas and create a culture of innovation. Lean apps can really facilitate this by acting as an innovation hub, pulling together the collective ideas of your team and enabling them to be shared, commented upon and improved by colleagues across the business. They can be used for surveys and employee feedback too, opening up a two-way dialogue and giving a voice to everyone in the organisation.
The beauty of Lean apps is that they can be tailored to suit your business, meaning that people only receive the information which relates to their role. By streamlining the information flow you can ensure that your team aren’t overwhelmed with irrelevant details but do have access to everything which they need to do their job better. Using push notifications, an app will also alert users when new relevant information is available or if they need to respond to something.
Lean apps are a genuinely rich media environment, bringing together photo libraries, documents, video, interactive surveys, message boards, news items, contact directories and so on, all in one place. By aggregating your company data as well as any information from external sources (should you choose), it will quickly become a daily essential for your Lean programme deployment.
As a Lean specialist consultancy, we’re genuinely excited by the opportunities presented by app technology in our field and are already exploring how it can be used to help our clients.
If you’re using Lean apps already, we’d be very interested to hear more about your experience, so please feel free to contact me at [email protected].