Introducing lean manufacturing to your plant
Lean manufacturing is an initiative that focuses on cost reduction and increases in turnover by constantly and methodically eliminating activities that do not add value to the manufacturing process. Basically what lean manufacturing does is help companies to achieve targeted productivity, as well as other things, by introducing tools and techniques that are easy to apply and maintain. What these tools and techniques are doing is reducing and eliminating waste, things that are not needed in the manufacturing process.
Here are the steps you will need to take to introduce lean manufacturing to your plant.
The first thing that you are going to need to do is to make sure that your upper management or senior management is onboard and are willing to practice what they are preaching. Employees most often learn by example and nobody sets more of an example than your upper management, so in order to implement lean manufacturing it must started from the top and work its way down.
The next thing that you are going to need to do is to pick a project leader. Keep in mind when picking the project leader you are going to want to pick somebody who gets along well with others, is well liked and respected by their employees, not to mention somebody who has a persuasive personality. The reason you want somebody like this is because they are going to be responsible for bringing together teams from a cross functional environment.
The next thing that you are going to need to do is to pick a small group of people, around 3 to 5 people, from different departments. These people you are picking are going to be working with the project leader in implementing lean manufacturing. And since they are going to be in charge of switching over to lean manufacturing you are going to want to make sure that they are enthusiastic about it and support it.
After you have picked out your entire team, the project manager and the 3 to 5 people from the different departments, you are going to want to begin training the team on lean manufacturing. What you are going to be teaching this team is the various lean tools and techniques.
After training the team on the various lean tools and techniques you are going to want to choose the most appropriate techniques for your company, you can decide as a team or use management's decision in this case. After choosing the right techniques for your company you are going to want to prioritize them so that you can implement them in the order you feel is most important. But keep in mind that you do not have to implement all of the lean tools and techniques; you should only implement the ones that work the best for your company.
After you have decided what you are going to you will need to address the entire workforce as to what you are doing. When you are talking to the workforce be sure to tell them why you are choosing to implement lean, how it will affect them and what you require from the employees.
You do not want to just suddenly switch your entire company over to lean what you are going to want to do is to select one area (pilot area) and one project (pilot project) where you can begin to implement lean. When introducing lean you will want to introduce something that is easy and will give you results immediately.
Make sure that you continue with this program for at least 2 to 3 months so that you can learn from your mistakes. Once you have gotten the hang of the first project you can begin the process for implementing lean in other areas of the workplace.