The Journey of Lean Management

The Journey of Lean Management

In every aspect of our organisation’s processes, LMC Express strives to maximise value for our customers while minimising wastage. ‘Lean’, is a philosophy and set of principles, which aims to create efficient, streamlined operations that deliver high-quality service while continuously improving and adapting to changes. We introduced this philosophy five years ago and have experienced great success with its implementation.

Our customer’s value is central in all we do, and we strive to deliver quality service. Anything that doesn’t directly contribute to value is considered as wastage. The ‘Value Stream’ is the A to Z process the service goes through. Here, we identify the steps that add value or eliminate or optimise those that don’t. The flow of service and information is also a vital factor. It must be continuous without bottlenecks or delays.

The introduction of ‘Self-Directed Work Teams’ is a central component of our Lean Management. The premise is that employees manage their own work processes such as making decisions and achieving specific goals without constant supervision from traditional managers.

Team members have autonomy in the work processes, enabling them to take ownership of tasks and responsibilities, creating individual empowerment. We encourage cross-functionality in problem-solving and finding solutions. This is where a group of our employees, who have diverse skills and expertise, collaborate, and come up with creative and innovative solutions that would otherwise not likely have been possible if all members of the team were like-minded. In addition, without the need for constant managerial approval, self-directed teams make quicker decisions, which is essential in a dynamic and fast-paced environment such as ours.

Accountability is a company key word, and this obviously leads to increased commitment and employee motivation, which in turn increases our productivity and efficiency. Team members at LMC Express are proudly and collectively responsible for the team’s performance and results. There are times when leadership roles may rotate among team members, promoting skill development, preventing over-reliance on a single individual, and encouraging a sense of shared leadership.

Our teams are typically assigned specific goals, targets, or projects. Their primary focus is to achieve these objectives effectively and efficiently. Self-directed teams assess their processes, identify areas for improvement, and implement changes as needed to enhance their performance. So, it is our employees at LMC Express who play a major role in steering the wheel and are consistently striving to deliver quality service.

At LMC Express, we also employ the use of technology to monitor our flow of service and review factors that add value, eliminate or optimise those that don’t. Mix Telematics is used to collect data over long distances to create a holistic overview of fleet operations. The data contains a wide range of parameters, including a vehicle’s location, speed, fuel consumption, engine performance, and even the driver’s actions. It is possible to track and monitor fleet activities in real-time regardless of where the vehicles are located. As a result of this data analysis, we’re able to improve service flow and reduce wastage and time, such as reducing emissions by optimising routes.

“We believe that there is always room for improvement. Lean is a holistic approach that requires commitment from all levels of the organisation, from top management to frontline workers. We recognise and empower employees as valuable contributors as well as encourage collaboration, innovation, and problem-solving from every team member. It’s not just about implementing tools but also about fostering a cultural shift towards continuous improvement and ‘waste reduction’ and that is exactly what we are doing at LMC Express.” – Lizette Conradie.

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