"Lean in Manufacturing and Lean in Service run parallel"

What is Human Resource Management?

Human Resource Management in Lean Organization is the process that consists of planning, attracting, developing, and retaining the human resources (employees) of an organization. It is aimed to facilitate the most effective use of people to achieve organizational and individual goals. HRM as a part of Total Human Management pillar of Lean Model is a strategic approach to the effective management of people in a company or organization such that they help their business gain a competitive advantage. It is designed to maximise employee performance in commission of an employer's strategic objectives. The overall purpose of Human Management is to make sure that the organization become ready to achieve success through total Employee Involvement. Lean Consultants’ role in HRM becomes crucial in designing HRM Policies in tune with the improvement drives in an organization.

Core functions of HRM:

  • HR Planning – involves strategic human capital planning, job design, requirement forecasting etc.
  • Attracting Employees– includes processes of searching candidates, recruitment and selection
  • Retaining Employees – involves objectives like maintaining employees reasonably by appropriate compensation, appraisals, maintenance of safety and health, conflict management, maintaining harmony among employees through team building etc.
  • Developing employees – includes processes aimed at faster and smoother induction of new recruits in the organizational culture, training and development of employees for skill and attributes enhancement in current as well as future work

Benefits of good HRM:

  • Positive influence on Organizational Culture
  • Harmony across the organization from top to bottom
  • Active employee involvement
  • Keeping up with demand
  • Development of sense of ownership in employees
  • Optimization of HR Costs
  • Better preparedness for future with existing employees with enhanced skills
  • Assurance of good health and safety of employees


What is Organization Structure?

An Organization Structure,also sometimes referred as Organization Architechture, is essentially the hierarchy an Organization runs on. An organizational structure defines how activities like task allocation, coordination, and supervision are directed toward the achieving Business Goals. It determines which individuals get to participate during which decision-making processes, and thus to what extent their views shape the organizational performance. Lean Organization Architecture is a tool through with one can identify the limits of authorities, unused potentials of people involved and existing positions across the hierarchy. By doing this, one can identify wastes exiting in the foundation and plan out better ways to make the system perform through Total Human Management.

Types of Organization Structures:

“Single size fits all” shall be the worst statement to be made when associating with Business Values. Each Organization has its distinctive strength, potential and philosophy. Based on the same factors, the hierarchical structures differ to best suit an Organization.

However an organization can be structured in broadly classified into following types:
  • Pre-bureaucratic structures –is totally centralized, most common in smaller organizations and is best used to solve simple tasks, such as sales
  • Bureaucratic structures –has rigid and tight procedures, policies and constraints and are most commonly observed in small & medium sized Organization
  • Post-bureaucratic – the one in which decisions are based on dialogue and consensus rather than authority and command
  • Functional structure –refers to how the people in an organization are grouped and to whom they report
  • Divisional structure – where delegated authority is used so that the performance can be directly measured with each divisional group
  • Matrix structure –functional and decentralized form that frequently uses teams of employees to accomplish work by taking advantage of individual strengths

Based on outlook, organization structure can be simply classified in two types:

1. Tall Structure

Large, complex organizations often require a taller hierarchy. A tall structure leads to one long chain of command almost like the military. As an organization grows, the number of levels in management increases and the structure grows taller. In a tall structure, managers form many ranks and every features a small area of control. It provides clear and distinct layers with obvious lines of responsibility, limits of authorities and control and a transparent promotion structure.

2. Flat Structure

With fewer management levels in a flat structure, each level controls a broad area or group. Rather than adhering to the chain of command, a flat organizations focus on empowering employees. In flat organizations employees offered more opportunities to excel while promoting the larger business vision.


What is KPI – Key Performace Indicators?

Key Performace Indicators, abbrvieated as KPIs, are the performance measuring metrics that help evaluate the progress or achievement of a specific objective. A KPI is a quantifiable measure or metric to gauges the performance of a product, service etc., in the market and how successfully an organization achieves goals at various levels.

What is KRA – Key Result Areas?

Key Result Area – KRA is the fundamental area of outcome for which an employee or department is responsible. It is a qualitative measure or metric as it defines the areas that can help in achieving the objectives of the organization and in finding out the scope of a particular job or product.

Why are KPIs and KRAs important?

Nothing that isn’t quantified can ever be managed – a notion that holds true to be the most basic foundation of any organization’s success. KPIs are a set of quantifiable measures to monitor if a company is on the right track for success—and if it’s not, where to focus its attention. KPIs are the quantifyable measures whereas the KRAs are qualitative in nature. Deciding KRAs are important to idnetify areas for focused improvement efforts and KPIs determines the extent of achievement.

While KRAs hold importance of their own, KPIs orient the numerical figures towards a desired result. At each and every level of a business, it is very important to define these indicators to access the performance of every factor that contributes to the business growth.

Examples of KPIs and KRAs:
  • KRA – Sales
  • KPI - Increase in sales, sales in new value stream, customer acquisition rate, customer retention rate, customer feedback, etc.


What is Team Building?

Team building is a collective term for various types of activities used to enhance social relations and define roles within teams, often involving collaborative tasks. With many individuals working for an organization, if their efforts are not collaborative, a business won’t succeed. With everyone working by themselves with lack of clarity of each other’s roles is just a group of talent that is wasted.

What is a Lean Team?

A Lean Team is term that can be used for this collective talent used judiciously extracting the best from the Humans of an Organization. Lean teams enable companies to facilitate positive change in the workplace and respond to problems in a timely manner so as to meet the standards set by management in strategic manner.A lean team is nothing but a group of individuals empowered to make quick decisions and take actions that benefit the organization as a whole.

Lean Team Hierarchy:

Lean teams function in a hierarchy that includes all levels and all aspects of the business. A group leader facilitates communication and improvements among several teams. Each team, in turn, has a team leader responsible for implementing reasonable improvements and getting approval from group leaders. Each team member is responsible for finding and solving problems in their assigned area. Once a potential solution is identified, team members get together with the team leader and further develop the solution in a planned manner.

One of the key aspects of this team building exercise is that each group is empowered to implement improvements within its scope of responsibility. When an improvement impacts multiple groups or functions, the group leaders introduces the idea to the top management for approval and additional support if required. Overall, this structure ensures that each team has the ability to implement change and ensures that the lean program gains the momentum that it needs.

Improtance of team building:

A chain’s strength is as good as its weakest link. Through strategic team building methods, the team strength can be identified and improved subsequently. A goal oriented TEAM, even with lack of expertise, can contribute in much more effective way than a group of experts working individually. Through team building activities, various strengths of the workforce can be identified and be capitalized for higher goals by sustained leadership skills and contributing skills. An ideal team is where each voice is heard and respected equally that consequently reflects with higher talent retention ratios and growing business strength by the time.


What is a Continuous Improvement Program?

Continuous Improvement Programs, many times abbreviated as CIP, are strategically laid out plan to sustain the Improvement Activities in long run amidst crunch Business situations. Through CIP, an Organization builds an Agile System that can tackle business dynamics while continually thriving for better functionality. Not only can CIP help in maintaining a culture, it also provides a healthy edge to capitalize in times of erratic Business Requirements fluctuations.

Continuous Improvement Program, more commonly known as Kaizen Drive forms the most crucial factor that integrates all Lean Pillars. Continuous Improvement a parameter that finds vitality in all the Pillars of Lean, cannot be stopped at any point for any reason since it would create an Avalanche Effect for an Organization. But for various understandable reasons, Top Management, in many instances, choose to temporarily halt the process, which subsequently drains out all the efforts put in in building a Lean Culture.

Designing a Continuous Improvement Program:

Broadly classified approaches for CIP induction are the pilot approach and a big bang approach. The big bang approach is quick but uncertainly dirty. In contrast to it, sustainable changes are typically achieved by an accumulation of small and manageable changes. For long-term sustenance of Improvement Activities, taking the pilot approach is superior approach, as it allows the culture of CIP to be embedded and provides flexibility to modify projects midway as per necessity.

Some successful implementations use the approach known as kaizen (the translation of kai (“change”) zen (“good”) is “improvement”). Key parameters in KAIZEN Drives area:
  • Feedback: The core principle of CIP is the (self) reflection of processes
  • Efficiency: The purpose of CIP is the identification, reduction, and elimination of suboptimal processes
  • Evolution: The emphasis of CIP is on incremental, continual steps rather than giant leaps

Key features of kaizen include:

  • Improvements are based on many small changes rather than the radical changes that might arise from Research and Development
  • As the ideas come from the workers themselves, they are less likely to be radically different, and therefore easier to implement
  • Small improvements are less likely to require major capital investment than major process changes
  • The ideas come from the talents of the existing workforce, as opposed to using research, consultants or equipment – any of which could be very expensive
  • All employees should continually be seeking ways to improve their own performance
  • It helps encourage workers to take ownership for their work, and can help reinforce team working, thereby improving worker motivation

Benefts of CIP / Kaizen:

  • Improved Productivity
  • Safer facility
  • Cost reduction
  • Imrpved communication
  • Higher employee morale and employee engagement
  • Higher cost optimization


With Human at the centre of Lean Thinking health of each person contributing, even to the minimal magnitude, to the Organization is of utmost importance to the organization. However, managing health and safety doesn’t have to be complicated, costly or time-consuming affair. With Total Human Management as a Lean pillar, wastage associated with Health risks are also reduced and tried to be avoided completely through deployment of appropriate Health & Safety Policy.

To an Organization, its internal stakeholders are as important as the customers. Any organization would always want its performers to be in the best shape, and losing on this parameter in anyway would be the last mishap an organization would want to occur.

Below given are simple steps of developing an organization wide workplace safety program:
  • Step 1 – Demonstrate Top Management’s Commitment to Workplace Safety
  • Step 2: Assessment of Workplace Risks and Hazards
  • Step 3: Create a Written Protocol for Employees
  • Step 4: Emphasize Employee Education
  • Step 5: Implement and Evaluate

For more details about Lean Manufacturing Training & Consulting Email : or Call / Whatsapp : +91 9824009792