Lean Thinking Programme

Rotorua's Lean Thinking programme uses the following methods:

Value Stream Mapping (VSM)

Value stream mapping refers to the activity of developing a high level visual representation of a process flow involved in delivering a product or service (ie a ‘value stream’) to customers. Typically taking 3 to 4 days, VSM focuses on identifying sources of non value-added activity and prioritising future improvement activities.


Kaizen means ‘to change for the good of all’. Kaizen activity is often focused on rapid process improvement events (ie kaizen events) that bring together a cross-functional team for 3 to 5 days to examine a specific process and immediately implement process changes.


5S is the name of a workplace organisation method that uses a list of five Japanese words which when translated into English all start with the letter ‘S’ - ie Sort, Set-in-order, Shine, Standardise, and Sustain.

You will see the following characteristics in our Lean Thinking approach:

  • We take a customer service perspective by seeking to optimise value delivered to the general public, the regulated community, and other stakeholders;

  • We involve employees and external stakeholders in continual improvement and problem-solving activities;

  • We deploy a rapid continuous improvement framework that emphasises implementation rather than prolonged planning;

  • We aim to reduce the complexity of processes and variation in process outputs;

  • We use performance metrics and visual controls to provide rapid communication and feedback to improve real-time decision-making and problem-solving.

Page reviewed: 25 Feb 2015 11:41am