Businesses aim to create lean London

Creating a lean, green business machine was the focus of a free workshop for businesses held in London this week.

The workshop, held at the British Library, was one of a series of six organised by London Remade to help small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and new businesses in the city.

Delegates at Thursday's event learnt how they could apply the principles of "lean enterprise" to make their businesses more efficient and environmentally friendly - putting them in a stronger position in the market.

"It is a competitive weapon," said course tutor Barrie Hughes. "If you are doing it and your competitors are not, you are going to be one step ahead of them all the time."

Mr Hughes, an advisor with the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS), talked delegates through the principles of kaizen, or continuous small improvements - a system made famous by Toyota - and kanban, a signalling system to trigger action.

The workshop also covered the need to help employees adjust to changes to the way they work if lean manufacturing and other green improvements are introduced to their workplace.

Mr Hughes said: "If people have change imposed on them they are a little bit more open if you do the change with them."

He added: "But do not be afraid to let people go because some people cannot handle the change needed for your business to survive."

Upcoming workshops in the series will also look at complying with environmental legislation, winning contracts, effective marketing and networking, and access to funding and financing.

Kate Martin



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