Is your business struggling with getting your product to the customer on time? Do you have a process that produces inconsistent results and sends defects to your customer? Do you need to find a way to cut cost because you can’t raise your price? All of these questions and more can be answered by using the principles and tools found within Lean Manufacturing concepts and major improvements can follow if you choose to begin a Lean Transformation.
Lean transformation is a strategy and approach to making big improvements throughout an organization. It incorporates pillar teams that have their individual responsibilities that drive the overall improvement. The pillars could vary depending on the scope of the project, but you could expect to see one that drives operational excellence, another focused on the inputs and outputs of the operation, and another geared towards documenting and training to the changes.
The question that follows is “how can my company do this and afford it?” and rightly so. Consultants are expensive and so is hiring a full-time staff dedicated to pushing the transformation. The truth is you can begin taking steps now with some very basic systems. What could be even more powerful is the fact that you can take your current workforce that you already pay for and add more value to them by teaching them Lean concepts and how to use the tools. Taking that step could ignite a lean culture you thought could never exist in your organization.
So here is what I would recommend:
1. Take a basic lean principle like 5S and really study it with your leadership team. You could do this through a simple lunch and learn or book club meeting that you fit into your weekly schedule.
2. Once you feel confident that you understand it then you can roll it out to your workforce through a short training session.
3. After you have introduced the workforce to the idea then offer them the time they need spread out over a period of time that seems reasonable because you still have to make production right?
4. Work through each “S” thoroughly because they all build on one another.
5. Then develop a system to maintain it, don’t worry if you really study “Sustain” you will see what you can do in order to maintain the improvements you made.
The benefits may not show up immediately in big dollar signs, but you will be investing in your workforce and getting them on board with your Lean Transformation which will produce the big savings. A Lean Transformation will take time especially if your work culture is resistant. However it has to start somewhere and you can take small steps in getting there.
For more information on how you can make Big Change through Small Improvements explore the rest of the website and read through the other blog posts. You will also find some free resources and people who would love to help you make your company better.