7 Ways To Apply A Lean Manufacturing Strategy To Your Business
Companies in the manufacturing arena and beyond are embracing Lean Manufacturing techniques to improve customer contentment and profitability through greater efficiency.
Eliminating waste is the ultimate goal and principle of Lean Manufacturing. By turning a laser-sharp focus on reducing waste – of time, effort, space, money – companies can achieve greater profits and happier customers. Any of those factors can make a business far more competitive in the marketplace.
Integrating Lean principles has a big impact on employees, so make sure they understand the benefits and they feel committed to the project. While making changes to processes will demand a lot of input and accommodation from your team, it can also be a highly motivating experience. According to a 2017 report by the McKinsey Global Institute, approximately 30% of activities in 60% of all occupations could be made more efficient. Your employees are your most expensive and most valuable asset: Helping them make increasingly valuable contributions feeds their sense of accomplishment, generating loyalty and enthusiasm in addition to dedicated effort.
Apply Lean Principles in Your Manufacturing Business
Here are seven ways to capitalize on the power of Lean Manufacturing and shift your organization into a higher gear.
- Eliminate waste – of materials, of time, of space, of efforts. This means taking a critical eye at every aspect of your facility. It means following raw materials on the path along the floor, but also checking out the places where it doesn’t go, such as storage areas and underutilized shop areas. Don’t forget non-production areas, and processes such as training.
- Accelerate response time. Honing your system to be nimble enables you to react to market changes or other shifts, like global pandemics or weather crises.
- Eliminate excess inventory. It’s tempting to keep inventory on hand for “just in case” but we’re in a “just in time” world. Besides the sunk costs in surplus inventory, navigating too much stuff can slow response time and complicate inventory and quality control issues Worst of all, inventory may become obsolete under your nose.
- Rethink your processes to shorten production cycles. Like with excess inventory, long production cycles are an invitation for waste. Quality control, inventory and obsolescence are concerns here as well.
- Fine-tune quality assurance and control to identify problems and trends at the earliest possible opportunity. This may require implementing testing procedures and controls at multiple points in your process. It may seem extravagant, but early detection is the best way to analyze, address and resolve problems.
- Partner with suppliers for maximum mutual benefit. Get them on board with your Lean efforts and support them in theirs. Strengthening supplier relationships is vital to a successful manufacturing enterprise.
- Pursue feedback from customers, and adapt your system accordingly.
Lean Manufacturing Is a Big Project
To fully embrace and enact the principles of Lean Manufacturing is a huge project. It requires dedication, continuous effort and improvement, good communication and a drastic change in corporate culture. However, the rewards can be great in terms of maximizing nimbleness and competitiveness. Even if a top-to-bottom change isn’t in the cards for you, keeping a Lean Manufacturing perspective in mind can help you limit inefficiencies and maximize profits.