The roots of lean manufacturing come from Japan where many businesses implement practices in order to determine what exactly their customers want while minimizing waste. However, lean practices can be adjusted and implemented in all kinds of companies, located all over the world. In this article, we’ll take a look at the basics of implementing lean in your company.
The main goal of lean is to eliminate waste. When you do this, you save money while improving productivity, which benefits not only your company, but the customer as well. There are a number of things that could be leading to waste in your company, including not using your employees’ talents correctly, overproducing products, poor layouts in offices and factories, inefficient pallet racking, broken equipment, defects, and so on. In order to eliminate these things, you need to look at your business’s processes and determine which areas are leading to waste. When you have this information at hand, you can find a way to resolve it.
Continuously Look to Improve
While implementing lean is a good start, it’s not a ‘do it once and everything will improve’ scenario. Instead, you need to be constantly looking at your processes and determining whether your changes have had a positive effect. If they haven’t, you need to look at alternatives. A company like Supply Velocity can help you with this if you struggle. Their lean consultants will be able to suggest both small and large changes that will have a positive effect on your company.
Safety is critical in every workplace, but especially in hazardous environments like factories and warehouses. While one of the aims of lean is to improve productivity, this should not be done in a way that leads to employees cutting corners on safety. Ignoring safety protocols could lead to a serious injury, or even loss of life, and while this is terrible enough on its own, from a business standpoint, if this happens, you now have an employee who needs replacing. This leads to downtime, and waste, defeating the whole purpose of lean.
Analyze, Analyze, Analyze
Finally, you need to continually analyze your metrics. There is no point in implementing anything if you can’t tell whether it is proving to be worthwhile or not. The more metrics that you are able to track, the more chance you have of determining where problems lie and what you can do to prevent things from causing loss or damage. So, every time you implement a new process, make sure to keep tabs on the data and don’t be afraid to revert back to the original way of doing things if it worked better.
Implementing lean manufacturing in your company could make the difference your business needs to stand apart from its competitors. If you are struggling with the advice in this article, you could always hire a lean consulting company to help you. One thing is for sure, after implementing lean, you should begin to eliminate waste.