7 awesome tools for implementing Lean Manufacturing like a boss

The concept of Lean manufacturing (some people call it “lean production”, or just “lean”, in the business supply management talk), is a methodical system for getting rid of the waste (Muda, in Japanese) of the processes of any organization, attending the manufacturing system. Lean Manufacturing also helps managers to notice all the waste that has been created because of overburden (Muri) and the disproportion in the loads of work (Mura).  In essence, Lean Manufacturing is focused on putting in evidence all the processes that actually add value thanks to a strategic reduction of the rest of elements that don’t help to it. In other words, it is a very interesting philosophy for managers, initially though by the Toyota Production System (TPS) twenty years ago.

Let’s analyze some of the best tips you could get if you want to implement this system:

1  . The first step for implementing lean manufacturing actions is to spend enough time for evaluating the needs of your company’s facilities.

By doing this, to identify the waste that does not let your company to grow and to cut it off. The importance of this step is to realize that maybe you don’t understand the manufacturing process of your business, because you have been really busy behind a desk. So start implementing this system on you, chief.

2. You must learn the basics.

There are some principles you should carve on stone:

  • Clients consider value in terms of the benefits they get from goods or services.
  • Produce your goods and / or services with that value, and without wastes.
  • Create a stream line of value-added practices.
  • Allow your clients to pull value. Feedback is a key word here.
  • Make imperfections evident and chase quality thanks to this by all means.
  • Implement a trust environment in your company and teach your employees how to solve problems.

3. Cut down all the Muda

Think Muda as any element, process, conflict or obstacle that instead of adding value to your product or service, becomes an unnecessary weight you need to get rid of.

It is important to consider your company as a whole, as a system, a living organism itself. Think that every conflict starts when a cell, a tissue or an organ needs to perform its function as it’s expected, and something is in its way for doing so. If that’s exceptional and does not repeat for producing a patron, then there is no need for worrying; but in the opposite case you need to work as a doctor who needs to remove a cancer.

There are seven manufacturing main Muda that Toyota has studied in order to avoid them:

  • Transportation issues
  • Inventory conflicts
  • Motion (in general)
  • Delayed processes
  • Over-processing (in connection with the prior one)
  • Producing more than you can sell
  • Defects on your goods or services

Can you identify waste on any of those categories on your company?

4.  Include all your staff in the Lean Manufacturing process.

By doing this, people will feel engaged to your company. They will feel important and heard in the problem-solving processes your company needs for functioning well and growing financially. It also reduces the resistance of your employees (especially those who have been working there for so long) when applying the new solutions.

5. Take a Lean Manufacturing tour

Witnessing the success of others (even if it’s the competence), sometimes is the best master. Taking note of all the benefits of Lean Manufacturing in other companies will make short the huge distance that lies between theory and practice. It’s not hard to find enterprises that let you visit their facilities. Go with different people: executives, workers, shareholders, the cleaning lady. All of them should get involved in it… and maybe others will visit you in the future.

manufacturing_david kiger_Tips for Lean Manufacturing_logistics
Image courtesy of Cathy at Flickr.com

6. Kaizen

I have mentioned this system in several posts. I believe in the importance and the improvement that comes after implementing this philosophy and I think it’s the best complement for Lean Manufacturing production. This is a Japanese term that literally means “continuous improvement”. When it comes to Lean Manufacturing and operational managements for your company, then Kaizen is essential. The concept of Kaizen is basically to always improve, little by little, non-stop, regardless of any inconvenient. It is not just useful for organizing your company: this philosophy derived from Zen will help you to improve yourself as a better person in any circumstance and scenario.

7. You know the talk: then do the walk

One of the principles of this system is to be practical. You know the theory, then start now and be drastic with all the waste you need to remove. Sit down with your board, think of a strategy and implement it.

Good luck, see you next time.


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