Importance Of Lean In Knowledge Work

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1.3 Lean in Knowledge Works

Even in the similar environment of manufacturing, researchers believe that the benefits accruing from the application of lean principles vary on the context of the manufacturing firms. On the other hand, Knowledge work not only differs in terms of the context from a manufacturing firm, but is also fundamentally different in terms of their structure, thus calling into question the applicability of the lean principles.
There are primarily 3 characteristic features in which the knowledge work differs from a manufacturing setting:
1. Knowledge work takes the form of a more dynamic character than what is generally associated with that of a manufacturing firm. For example Toyota, once started to produce Camry will not
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The processes as well as the connections between the processes in a knowledge work are more often than not invisible. It is therefore not easy to visualize and predict all the bottlenecks and problem areas which may arise in the project prior to its functioning. It is thus a hindrance in indentifying the problems early and solving them effectively as well as efficiently
3. Knowledge work is often related to design related tasks spanning from architecture related to the high levels right down to the details pertaining to the low levels.
In spite of the presence of the differences, Lean principles have been applied in the knowledge works and studies have shown several areas where they can have a major impact in improving the operational and performance metrics of the organization. The management concepts of Value, Value Stream, Flow, Pull, and Perfection are used to synergize the lean tenets along with the project management concepts of Software Development Life Cycle.
Chapter 2: Literature
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However, in 2004, the senior managers at Wipro Technologies came to the opinion that the marginal benefits which were accruing for Wipro from the previous quality initiatives have been exhausted. Effort was made to search for a strategy providing Operations-based advantage and hence providing a barrier to their competitors attempting to imitate them.
In mid 2004, in order to translate the ideas present on lean production from manufacturing to software services, Wipro Technologies launched a pilot program. They formed a 10 member core team spending several months visiting different organizations practicing lean manufacturing, read the literature available for lean implementation and also discussed ideas for implementation.
Ten projects were selected for pilot implementation. Each member of the core team member drove the initiative in one of the pilot projects. Certain metrics were selected to determine the change in them and to determine the pilot project was successful or not. At the end of the lean initiative drive, the core team deemed 8 out of 10 projects to be successful, having achieved over 10% improvement on the pre-specified metrics. This provided the right result which the managers were hoping for and they decided to extent the framework and roll
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