Developing a lean manufacturing mentality
Lean manufacturing is much more than just a type of business; it is a way of thinking.When you think lean, you think of ways to do the necessary things in ways that are as simple or as un-wasteful as possible.You may be skeptical that so much improvement can result from a simple change in the manufacturing thought process, but it is such skepticism that holds many business owners back from achieving the most productivity possible with lean manufacturing methods.In order to develop and maintain a lean manufacturing mentality, you must do the following things:
- Lean manufacturing involves almost every aspect of business.Therefore, the goals that you set for being lean will also involve most or all of the parts of your business.No level of the operation should be viewed as more important than another.If there is a position that is so insignificant that you cannot assign any lean implementation goals to it, you may need to restructure the position or redistribute the responsibilities of that position to other members of the team.
- Keeping momentum going is what will make your lean manufacturing operation successful over the long run and goals need to be implemented to accomplish this.Make sure that the goals that you set for your lean business are goals that can not only grow and evolve with your business but also have ways to be refined, evaluated and even changed to ensure that no processes are left stagnant.
- One of the most important concepts in lean manufacturing is to have a system of data collection and reporting set up so that you can measure how well your company is doing at reducing waste and adhering to other lean objectives.When evaluating the progress of your business, you should be able to answer questions like "What do customers think of us?""What internal processes must we be the best at?"And, "How can we improve?" Most manufacturing operations use five parameters to measure the business.They are safety, people, quality, responsiveness and financial performance.
- Sticking to the initial vision of the business is a good way to remain on-track when thinking of what changes ought to be made to the company with the purpose of making a leaner working environment.The vision statement of the company is basically a definition of what constitutes success.Interestingly enough, very few successful businesses have vision statements that focus on making money.Instead, a company vision usually includes what the business owners hope to provide to their customers and how by providing these services they can improve the lives of others.Lean manufacturing goals are much like the goals that are described in a company vision statement in that facts and figures are less important than achieving the goal of complete customer satisfaction.
Developing a lean manufacturing mentality will most likely challenge a good deal of what business people have been taught formally.With all the marketing, finance, advertising, and management classes that you have taken with the hopes of moving up in the business place, it is easy to understand how changing your mentality completely could yield better results.Letting go of preconceived notions and text book answers can be a real struggle for some, especially those who have already seen moderate success with their current mentality.But logically speaking, there is no way to get ahead in business if you are doing the same thing as everyone else.By developing a lean manufacturing mentality, you are essentially putting yourself and your company in a whole other league than your competition.