5 Reasons Millennials Must Develop Lean Management Skills

Those who study lean management demonstrate to employers they understand the forces of the global economy, as well as the requisite lifelong learning for business success.

The job search is never easy. Many qualified applicants are all competing for a handful of exceptional positions. However, for today’s Millennial managers, there is one job skill that can quickly separate you from the competition.

Lean management is a philosophy originally defined and developed in the manufacturing community. Today, lean management initiatives benefit almost every organization and industry.

Those who study lean management demonstrate to employers they understand the forces of the global economy, as well as the requisite lifelong learning for business success. Here are five reasons Millennial job seekers looking for managerial positions should be fluent in lean management:

1. Lean management is the newest fortune 500 investment trend.

GE invested $432 million in the United States to develop “centers of excellence” that practice lean manufacturing. It also responded to the increasing business need for speed with what it named “FastWorks.” This is a unique framework that takes lean to the next level. Numerous companies have followed this lead.

Millennials may be at a disadvantage to more seasoned job seekers in terms of amount of work experience, but embracing lean management and independently obtaining lean management training will stand out as an example of their ability to anticipate a future employer’s needs.

2. Lean management turns business challenges into a career opportunity.

Job seekers historically have avoided struggling companies. After all, who wants a failed company on their resume? For Millennials beginning their careers, lean management turns this into an opportunity for a big career win.

By applying lean management principals, Millennials can identify situations where an overhaul of manufacturing can reverse a failing company. This is just one way lean management expands career opportunities.

3. Continuing education fills resume gaps.

A resume gap can happen for many good reasons. Unfortunately, employers are reluctant to hire an individual who has been unemployed for an extended period. Most hiring managers will not exclude unemployed applicants, but a period of idleness typically reflects poorly on a candidate.

Pursuing lean management training allows job seekers to avoid resume gaps at a fairly minimal expense. It also avoids the expense and time commitment of seeking an advanced degree.

4. High turnover roles create demand for process-oriented managers.

For a people-oriented manager, the loss of an experienced team member may prove insurmountable. Lean managers, on the other hand, tend to be process oriented. Instead of relying upon the skill sets of specific people, they focus on developing replicable processes that can create success.

That’s not to say lean managers are uninterested in fostering team member success. Rather, their focus on lean management is focused on making the best use of limited team member time. This, in turn, can help companies avoid layoffs that may have otherwise been necessary.

A process-oriented manager will use lean principles in a struggling department to develop processes that make each person’s job easier and more clearly defined. At the same time, this focus on process prepares the team for any future turmoil.

5. Lean management enhances a company’s customer focus and its bottom line.

Lean management ultimately is focused on the creation of beneficial customer outcomes. It teaches managers how to maximize customer value as they minimize corporate waste. In the global marketplace, the competition will always look for ways to take your market share. Leaders with a lean management focus enable their company to defend that market share and expand the value the organization delivers to customers—without increasing prices.

Peter Anthony is president and chief executive officer of UGN, which he joined in 1992 as sales and marketing manager. Upon taking the helm of chief executive in 2002, Anthony ultimately reinvented UGN—expanding it from a niche supplier to a broad-based corporation with a diversified product line. His drive to embrace the Toyota Production System as the foundation of the UGN business model resulted in maximum productivity and efficiency throughout his manufacturing and business management structure. Today, Anthony spearheads the company’s more than $400 million in revenue across six manufacturing facilities in the United States. 

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