What Makes A Successful Lean Manufacturing Implementation?

Choosing to apply lean manufacturing principles inside your company’s organization is one of the smartest moves for any manager wanting to get ahead in the business. In today’s competitive world, being one step ahead of everyone else is a major advantage. Lean manufacturing can be the turning point for any organization.

Many companies who have tried lean manufacturing have experienced production growth of up to 25%, cost reduction from key areas of the organization and have developed a more personal relationship with the company as an identity. This is due to an effective lean manufacturing implementation plan.

Lean manufacturing implementation planning begins with the executive management. After laying down the departments and areas in production that needs immediate attention, planning for the lean manufacturing implementation begins. Depending on the gravity of one point, say cutting production time to 10%, the steps for achieving it is listed down.

There are a lot of detractors for lean manufacturing implementation. Many say that the principle is easy enough to understand — reducing the seven wastes (overproduction, waiting time, inventory, processing waste, motion, underutilizing people and making defective products) in a company. However, things and money get lost in the actual lean manufacturing implementation.

Because of this creating a planning for the lean manufacturing implementation in a department can be very useful. You can measure the success of the lean manufacturing implementation in quantifiable terms like percentage growth in production time or the cut in production time to meet the predetermined goals of the company.

Phases of a lean manufacturing implementation plan

For lean manufacturing implementation to work, it has to run in phases within the company. The first phase is Core Disciplines. It requires all the concerned employees and managers to undergo lean manufacturing training. Once they’ve grasped the concepts and principles of lean manufacturing, they can now make plans for the lean manufacturing implementation in their departments.

When people understand what is required of them to become active members of a unit (the company, in this case), cooperation is easy to achieve. That is why the changes experienced in Phase one of the lean manufacturing implementation are usually dramatic, its results are immediate and the benefits are clear.

Phase two of the lean manufacturing implementation builds on the core disciplines. This means whatever changes have been implemented on the first phase, it is fine tuned in the next one. Systems are placed, as a permanent part of the organization’s routine and training for sustaining those systems is an ongoing process.

The last phase is called Continuous Improvement. After the lean manufacturing implementation throughout the organization, the improvements made by the new systems gradually becomes part of the production process. The improvements may be small but as the months go by, it builds up like compound interest.

Phase three of the lean manufacturing implementation never ends. As long as the plans for lean manufacturing implementation are followed, the company will continue to feel the positive effects of the change. This will mean additional profits for the company through money saved from the cost reductions.

Keys to a successful lean manufacturing implementation

Depending on how effective the plans for lean manufacturing implementation have been to the specific department, there are still a few considerations to take for the plan to be successful.

First is prepare and motivate people. Quality training and recruiting of workers with appropriate skills can help lead an organization to lean manufacturing implementation success. The creation of teams to instill pride in one’s work and organization is very good tool to get the people involved and really care about the company’s growth.

Second, share information with the concerned people or those who are directly affected with the kaizen events and manage expectations by making the goals realistic. When people see that they are part of something important, they become empowered and it makes the lean manufacturing implementation a whole lot easier.

Third is to make an atmosphere of experimentation possible for any person in the organization. Small, calculated risks are allowed but major mistakes may cause the company to close down. It is important to draw the line of between honest mistakes from a corporate blunder.

Fourth is to install realistic performance measures, fair evaluation, and solid reward systems. When everything is manageable, the workload is eased and there are more opportunities to reward good performance.

The success of lean manufacturing implementation rests on the hands of the cooperation of the people inside the corporation. All you need to do is tap into their potential as a major resource and you’ve got it made.

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Kevin Schmidt is a passionate safety professional, who strives to end all workplace injuries.

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Kevin Schmidt, LPC

Kevin Schmidt, LPC

Kevin Schmidt is a passionate safety professional, who strives to end all workplace injuries.

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