The 8 P’s of Lean and How They Apply to Your Business

“The achievement of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual,” Vince Lombardi


“Where there is no vision the people perish,” — Proverbs 29:18

Before starting a Lean journey, a company must have a vision or a purpose to strive for in the business. Without a vision or purpose, a company cannot go anywhere without having chaos. A chaotic approach to business, or life, is never a good approach in any way. Therefore, the first thing a company needs to do is set up its PURPOSE by listening to the voices of all its stakeholders. These stakeholders are Management, Employees, Customers, and Society.

There are four basic questions a leader should ask themselves when forming their purpose:

  1. Do we all know what we are really supposed to achieve?
  2. Are we measuring the appropriate KPIs?
  3. Are we working on too many things at once?
  4. Are we working towards making tomorrow better than today?

Once we have answered these questions, a leader can determine the direction the company is currently going in. From there, we can define the PURPOSE, or vision, that we want to have as a company.

C Tek has a vision that we believe it is important to provide excellent customer service and to work together as your lean productivity partner.


“Having no problems is the biggest problem of all,” — Taiichi Ohno

After we have determined our purpose, we must then decide the direction we need to go in with our current PROCESSES. Most companies have done this before through fake Lean, where they tried to get orders fulfilled but never improved all the processes to get there. Fake Lean never helped companies realize their full potential; they only pushed for customer wants and not process improvements for efficiency. This gave companies a 20% return on what they did, and hence many companies stopped their Lean journey at this point because they thought they were done.

When a company starts to realize that each process has its own customer, they will start to realize the full potential of Lean as a whole. Don’t just fix the process of order fulfillment, fix the processes of order fulfillment, order processing, production processes, and the list goes on.

“Progress cannot be generated when we are satisfied with existing situations,” — Taiichi Ohno

I challenge companies to find ways that these processes all link together towards one common purpose. Doing this helps departments and frontline employees understand that their customers are more than the customer, but also the next department or person in line. This will help product flow better, just like the C Tek’s roller conveyors help product flow from station to station with ease.

Once employees start to get a flow of the product through the system, they can start to identify wastes in their processes and eliminate them. This will improve their efficiency while ultimately making their jobs calmer and less stressful. The benefit of working on all processes is capacity will double, if not more within any business.


“The most valuable “currency” of any organization is the initiative and creativity of its members. Every leader has the solemn moral responsibility to develop these to the maximum in all his people,” — W. Edwards Deming

The most important resource in any business is its human resource – PEOPLE. Frontline workers are part of the business that makes it move forward, producing the product and bringing advances and improvements to the company.

There are eight steps to improve processes in a company for your PEOPLE:

  1. Understanding the difference between management and leadership
  2. Creating and deploying an inspiring vision or purpose
  3. Defining, demonstrating and encouraging correct behaviors
  4. Aligning support policies and procedures with the purpose
  5. Creating a dynamic communication system
  6. Developing Situational Leadership
  7. Working on Job Design
  8. Leading by not leading

Managers, or leaders, must start by teaching and developing their employees. They can do this through two ways of Lean or TPS: TWI or Toyota Kata. With these methods, companies can lead and develop employees by showing and explaining how to improve their processes.

We always must remember that attitude reflects leadership; people model their behavior after their leader. They will notice whether their superiors are all talk, or if serious about implementing a new and better system. If the leader shows they are all in with a clear vision, they will follow. Once the frontline employees realize they have a leader who cares they will run through a fire in a gasoline suit for you.

Show them you care, and they will care too.


Two ultimate goals of Lean, or TPS, are to create one-piece flow and eliminate inventory from the system. Many of C Tek’s products can help your business get closer to these goals by helping you become more efficient with many of their piping systems.

The goal of perfection is a one-piece flow and having inventory will never achieve that goal. One may come close, but there will always be areas that have inventory to make smaller batches to achieve a better PULL system. PULL system considers what the customers, or the next process in line, is taking from the system. Hence the name PULL system.

PULL will determine what is produced next, what the next training is for a work area, and what the next improvement will be. In order to determine the PULL of the customer, a company must do a Value Stream Map of their entire process. This will help a company see areas they are having issues in and determine how they can achieve a pull system to reduce chaos.

“When everything is a priority, nothing is a priority,” — Karen Martin


The biggest mistake most companies make is not standardizing and stabilizing their current processes for PREVENTION. We tend to skip this part of the process and use tools like 5S, Kanban, SMED, and Value Stream Mapping, but forget to document and standardize the processes. When we standardize the process, we eliminate a lot of the chaos from our processes and show the frontline workers what is expected of them.

“It is not enough to do your best, you must know what to do and then do your best,” — W. Edwards Deming

People need to have guidance on what is expected of them; we must develop standards for our processes. Standards will help prevent much of the chaos and will help frontline workers, line leads, and managers alike know where help is needed. When people can identify problems before they happen it will help the business cure other things such as late orders, defective, and WIP.

Many times, companies are afraid to set standards because they feel they are tying the hands of the employees and keeping them from being creative to solve the process problems. But this is not true. When we reduce the everyday chaos and clutter from our environment it will help with creativity. Employees can concentrate on the job at hand and make changes where there needs to be.


PARTNERING was something the Japanese felt was very important when they developed the TPS or Lean system. They realized they needed to have great relationships with their suppliers and shippers in order to make their system flow better. Furthermore, these partnerships help companies gain trust with each other and become much more efficient and help grow their bottom line.

When Lean was developed it was realized there also must be a partnership between departments, frontline workers and managers. They developed the teamwork in their business the way they coach and train employees. One way that the Japanese accomplished this was with the A3’s. It called this because the process was done on A3 paper where all departments had to sign off before a change was implemented. The A3 helps people understand the problem, suggest the solution, get ideas from other areas, and then implement the proper changes needed. This is where we can make changes that the whole company will benefit from and realize the 2X gain!!

C Tek can provide this type of partnership with your company by helping you build systems with their 28MM Pipe that can be cut and formed to the style of structures your company needs.


“The slower but consistent tortoise causes less waste and is more desirable than the speedy hare that races ahead then stops occasionally to doze,” — Taiichi Ohno

For many years we have said “reduce, reuse, and recycle” to help keep our PLANET as clean and green as possible. To eliminate the wastes in everyday life and at work, we as humans need to look for ways to change and reduce the way we do things and the amount of stuff we use. Lean is the perfect system for companies to help reach the goal of becoming greener.

Lean has always been resourceful by using current inventory in order to complete the job. It accomplishes this by reusing parts in the process to help our planet. C Tek offers various modular systems including aluminum and stainless steel that emulate this way of thinking; recycle and reuse the C TEK 28mm tube and connector systems as your operation evolves and changes.  

Next, Lean helps employees learn how to eliminate wastes in their processes which reduces the energy they will spend on their current jobs. This helps companies go green by eliminating the amount of space a company needs to produce the product they are manufacturing.

Once employees learn how to reduce and reuse, they will start to practice recycling by using things on hand and thinking outside the box. This will help companies spend less by using what they already have.

Lean could be the ultimate answer to keeping the PLANET green.


“Gentlemen, we are going to relentlessly chase perfection, knowing full well we will not catch it, because nothing is perfect. But we are relentlessly going to chase it, because in the process we will catch excellence. I am not remotely interested in just being good,” — Vince Lombardi

When Toyota set out to start TPS, they created a vision to achieve PERFECTION for their company. Their vision was a one-piece flow with no inventory in their system. They knew they would never get to this vision of their PERFECTION but trying to achieve their PERFECTION Toyota knew they would catch excellence. They just had to stay on the right path.

Many of the most profitable companies do not worry about their competition or how other industries run. Their purpose to take care of their vision and perfection and achieve their goals; the rest will take care of itself.

Create your company’s PERFECTION and do not try to compare yourself to others; they may just be further along in their journey. If you do this, you will stop your Lean journey before beginning and never realize your goals. Set target conditions that will constantly push you and your employees towards the company’s PERFECTION. These target conditions give everyone goals to strive for ultimately growing your business capability. Even as you reach each target condition always have the next target condition in mind. This will push your company towards continuous improvement and PERFECTION.

Lean is a Journey and C Tek is here to help you along that journey!!

Only here to help!!