How can we become better at lean management.
If you are the manager or owner of a business, whether it's involved in manufacturing or not, you should be asking yourself how you can become better at lean management.This article will answer your questions about how you can improve your lean management and how that will help improve your company.
Lean management, otherwise called lean manufacturing, is a way to approach manufacturing that cuts down on waste.Anything that is considered by the customer not to add value to the product is eliminated, at least as much as possible.It is easy to see how lean management can apply to the manufacturing process-you can start with simple things like making sure that equipment is always in the same place, cutting down on the amount of time that a product is in the manufacturing process, and other things of that nature.But lean management can and should also be applied to every aspect of your company's organization-supply chain management, customer relations, general management, product development, and more.
There are a number of tools that have developed to help with lean management, ever since it was developed by Toyota.These tools include 5S, the five whys, target costing, setup reduction, value-stream maps, kanban, simultaneous and concurrent engineering, and kaizen.Using these tools is helpful because anybody can use them anywhere in your organization.A special staff improvement team can use them, as can external consultants who come in and analyze your company.Also, lean management tools can be used within a pre-existing organization, which means that you don't have to overhaul your entire company.
However, just using tools is not going to get you particularly far.Before you simply apply lean tools wherever you think they might be needed in your organization, you need to look at lean management, a move that strikes and assists at the very core of your organization.Just taking this step will help your management become better, as you realize that even if it is harder than just indiscriminately using lean tools, implementing a lean management overhaul will be better for your company and for your customers.
Here are three simple factors of lean management that you should try implementing in your business.
First of all, make someone responsible for being in charge of the entire flow of value and improving every step of the process, in light of the needs of both the business and the customer, for every value stream within your organization.The key is not to make a new bureaucracy, but rather to ensure that the value-stream manager is in contact with all of the different department heads.
The second tip is, after you have created value-stream managers, is to ask those value-stream managers exactly how they will improve the value-creating process that they are in charge of.This is more effective, and less wasteful, than developing complex metrics to determine how value-streams might be improved. The key is to focus on the process itself, instead of focusing on the numbers.Besides, numbers are only analyzed and only come up after the process has been finished-end of the year or end of the quarter numbers.You need to look at the process now so that you can see results now.
Third, you need to teach all of the value-stream managers to ask questions of the employees about the value streams.This is much more effective than simply ordering people around and being ordered.Asking questions entails constant experiments in improvement, managed by science.Never stopping asking if something can be improved, and how, and never resort to just numbers, since this will ensure that you will lose productivity and lose customers.