The challenge of implementing lean manufacturing
There are more and more manufacturing business that are turning to using lean manufacturing. The success of this type of production has been dramatically shown in less waste, faster production, and higher customer satisfaction for the manufacturing businesses that have implemented it. However, it is important to note that implementing lean manufacturing is not always a smooth or easy process. Savvy manufacturing business owners will do well to prepare to deal with the obstacles and problems that are associated with the implementation of lean manufacturing. Here is what you need to know about the challenge of implementing lean manufacturing-
- Understand the employee mindset-One of the biggest challenges when a manufacturing company is trying to implement lean manufacturing is changing the mindset of their employees. Many times employees have been doing their jobs a certain way and they are reluctant to make changes. They may feel that this is simply a new process to learn that will not help them do their jobs any better. It is crucial that if you are considering implementing lean manufacturing that you take the time to properly educate your employee about the benefits and payoffs of doing so.
- It can be hard to identify waste-One of the complexities of manufacturing is being able to clearly identify waste. Because of the complex nature of the production process it can be hard to find where there is a need to cut. Often times employees will be unsure as to what waste really constitutes. This is where it can be highly beneficial to have a consultant who is trained in lean manufacturing come in and take close look at every aspect of your manufacturing business. The lean manufacturing consultant will be able to show how cutting waste can improve production, lower costs, and even secure jobs for the long term.While this will be an additional cost in implementing lean manufacturing it can go a long way to better and smoother implementation of the process.
- Getting employees involved-Lean manufacturing is a employee driven process. Even after you have changed the mindset of your employees you may still find it difficult to get their involvement in implementing lean manufacturing. The reason for this is that the implementation of lean manufacturing will have to take place in addition to their regular job duties. Employees may feel that they even though they see the value of using this method that they don't have time to help implement it. Management will have to take direct action that will allow employees the time to find waste, identify them, and be part of the solution within the parameters of their regular work. When management is highly involved and supportive of the implementation of lean manufacturing it is a lot more likely that it will go smoother.
- Following up on the process-Unlike many other processes that can be put into place and then walked away from in order for lean manufacturing to be truly successful a follow up process must be put into place. Manufacturing business owners will need to determine what steps should be taken in order to make sure that lean manufacturing becomes a permanent part of the entire manufacturing process. This can be difficult since this needs to worked in among the many other demands of running a manufacturing business. However, the initial effort of implementing lean manufacturing will mean little unless this follow up process is put into place. Keep in mind that your follow up process in making sure that lean manufacturing works will also let your employees know that you appreciate and validate their efforts in implementing lean manufacturing.