Putting the pieces together for successful lean manufacturing implementation

Putting the pieces together for successful lean manufacturing implementation

As the benefits of lean operations are increasingly recognized by manufacturing, warehousing and logistics companies, many more are scratching their heads and asking the question "how exactly do I become lean?"

According to Plant Engineering, many businesses are finding that implementing lean manufacturing practices requires participants to assess the current job environment and the satisfaction of workers, increase participation in adopting lean, develop new behavior patterns among employees and put trust in lead methods.

To begin the implementation process, many firms often start with benchmark assessments and in-depth training on how to use lean tools. These typically discuss the lean practices like value stream mapping, the 5 S's of sort, shine, systemize, standardize and sustain, communication concepts and several other tried-and-true methods, with the hope of driving profits higher.

At the core of the lean philosophy is an effort to promote transparency and find the exact root of the problem, rather than quickly applying short-term fixes in a band-aid approach to solving issues. Siemens' facility in Guadalajara, Mexico, successfully implemented lean practices by taking a few crucial steps and deriving the most out of the adoption by also changing its existing management methods, the media outlet stated. The company also used the lean adoption period as a time to incorporate new values of innovation, excellence and responsibility, the media outlet stated.

Before beginning these lean training programs, facility management personnel should assess how culture of previously leaders has helped form how the company operates today. By understanding an employee base's work environment, lean practices can be better conveyed, and will have higher chance of success when it comes to widespread lean practice.

"It is well known that the work environment defines how employees will react on the lean implementation," wrote Gunter Beitinger, plant director at Siemens SA. "Job environment and satisfaction, also known as company culture, is closely related to the common mind-set of employees, which is directly related to their viewpoints."

Businesses can see huge benefits by implementing lean manufacturing techniques, which include higher profits linked to more asset uptime and worker productivity. 

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