Things You Need To Know About Lean Manufacturing

Every article written about lean manufacturing brings out a defense of the concept. 

There are several misconceptions and some people incorrectly believe that lean manufacturing is simply an abbreviated term for laissez-faire manufacturing. 

In reality, lean manufacturing is more of a philosophy than anything else.

Things You Need To Know About Lean Manufacturing

Lean Manufacturing is not just about reducing waste, it has much more to do with the entire company having a sharp focus on continuous improvement with regard to both the customer and employee experience.

Challenges To Implementing Lean Manufacturing Culture And Practices

If you are considering implementing Lean Manufacturing in your business, you do need to be aware of some of the challenges.

Lean Processes Benefit From Automation

Automation is sometimes thought of as a dirty word but it’s not. 

Automation can greatly reduce costs, improve quality, and help reduce waste by improving the efficiencies of Lean Manufacturing processes. 

No Workplace Is An Island; Relationships Are Imperative

Building good relationships within teams is critical to the success of implementing lean manufacturing. 

Whether it’s your plastic welding team, your finishing team, your brazing team, or even the team in admin, everyone needs to be working together to optimize the flow of goods, parts, and information.

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Achieving A “Lean” Culture Is Difficult To Do

It’s not always easy to achieve a ” Lean ” culture in every corner of the business. 

Some people are not as flexible as others and need more direction. Sometimes you will find that people who are natural perfectionists tend to be better at improving the process than those who are more laid-back.

Lean Manufacturing Is Not Only About Waste Reduction And Cost Reduction. 

Lean thinking is much more than that, and a company needs to focus on the customer and the employee experience as well if you are truly going to be Lean. 

Lean Manufacturing is not to be confused with cheap labor and overcharging the customer. It’s more important to focus on increasing value to both customer and employee experience, therefore cutting costs through efficiencies should be part of the overall Lean mentality. 

You Cannot Cut Corners When It Comes To Public Safety And Health Issues

When it comes to tasks like welding, brazing, painting, or any task that has a safety or health concern attached to it, you need to make sure that your procedures are safe, reasonable, and waste-free before you start doing business with customers. 

The long-term costs of not having a safe and healthy environment for your employees can be crippling to the growth of a business.

Being Lean Means Being A Good Leader

Become a better leader by understanding that leadership is not command and control but a set of guiding actions to align people’s goals with the organization’s vision.

A culture of continuous improvement only comes at the cost of opportunity costs in other areas of business activity; focus on maximizing your profits while minimizing waste/loss.

Challenges And Improving The Lean Value Chain

As you implement lean processes, you are going to need to work on improving the way people work within these new lean processes. There are many ways that you can improve this value chain. 

When implementing lean manufacturing, there is a lot of focus on what prevents waste in the first place. 

In order to reduce waste in an organization, it’s important to have a good understanding of how waste can exist even when you are trying your best to implement lean manufacturing across your entire value chain. You can do this by:

Increasing Customer Value 

Everyone who works within a company has a responsibility of identifying and eliminating waste and creating value for the customer. 

If you are able to do this across your entire value chain, you will have the beginnings of a lean manufacturing culture on your hands. 

Increasing Employee Value 

You don’t want to just focus on eliminating waste but you also want to ensure that all employees are having a great experience working for your company as well. 

It’s important for everyone who works for your company to know that they are valued and appreciated by the organization as a whole.

Improving Flow: Reduce Bottlenecks And Increase Process Efficiency 

No workplace is an island; relationships are imperative when it comes to flow. You want to make sure that processes are streamlined and that flow from front to back is smooth and efficient. 

You also need to make sure that there are no bottlenecks within the process. If you have a bottleneck in your process, this means that some tasks have to sit idle until the other tasks have been completed before they can move forward. 

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Summary

When it comes to implementing lean principles in your business, it’s very easy to get lost in the details. 

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by all of the information in this chapter and get thrown off course from achieving true lean manufacturing practices that maximize profits for your business. 

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