So, What is Lean Manufacturing?
Lean Manufacturing is a hot topic in the manufacturing world today. But what IS it anyway? Well, lean manufacturing has 3 main goals:
- Waste elimination
- Improving cycle efficiency
- Improving your process flow
VIDEO: What is Lean Manufacturing?
To become lean, you have to have standardized work, continuously improving scheduling, and control charts.
Where a lot of companies go wrong is letting their employees pick and choose which process they like best. This is a mistake, because in order to really be a Lean champion everyone must follow standardized work. Allowing your employees to modify the process just leads to improvisation. Which would be great if you were trying to get on “Whose Line is it Anyway”… but not so great if you’re trying to maintain a lean work environment.
Lean Manufacturing by any other name?
You’ll hear a couple different terms out there that smell just as sweet and are basically the same concept, such as Lean Production and Toyota Production System (or TPS).
“Toyota is an interesting company because by implementing lean manufacturing, they were able to grow to be the largest automotive manufacturer in the world!”
Break it down for me!
Let’s break lean manufacturing down to 3 main principles.
- First, we want to Minimize Waste. I have a video titled “Scrap Reduction, 5 Easy Keys,” which is a great resource you can use. I go into detail on how to reduce your scrap and keep that money saved in your pocket. Check it out!
To sum it up in a few words, look at your process, and determine what is value- added and what is NON value-added. Keep the processes that add value, and work toward eliminating the ones that don’t.
- The second key principle is Just-in-Time Delivery. Basically, what this means is that you want the right part at the right time and you work to reduce inventory. Perfect the process flow so it’s as efficient as possible. Only build what is ordered.
Brilliant, right?! Some additional terms you may be familiar with are “1 Piece Flow” and “Pull instead of Push.”
- Continuous Improvement is the last element I want to focus on today. This is where you have cultural transformation and every person in the plant becomes a quality inspector. What that means is NOBODY should EVER give out or take a part that does not meet quality standards. Each operator should say to themselves, “I will NOT take any part unless it meets quality standards.” So if a bad part is found, not only the operator that made the defective part owns responsibility, but also the operator that accepted that defective part.
What is Lean 6 Sigma?
6 Sigma is a statistical problem-solving method. (NOT a fraternity house!) If you combine 6 Sigma with Lean Manufacturing, it’s called Lean Six Sigma. Now, Lean Manufacturing is awesome! But what I do hear a lot of complaints about is the Lean 6 Sigma way of solving problems. 6 Sigma gets results, but usually those results are very slow in coming.“In my experience, even though I’m a Lean 6 Sigma Master Blackbelt, I don’t even tell people I’m a Lean 6 Sigma problem solver because the process is just too slow!” Click To Tweet
So many people I’ve worked with are tired of the slow, 6 Sigma way of getting results. But Lightning Problem Solving Methods mesh really well with Lean Manufacturing. Most companies don’t have unlimited amounts of time and resources at their disposal to work the same projects for months on end. This is where I come in! They’re amazed when I can produce money-saving results in just a fraction of the time.
Need more problem-solving tools?
Stay with me and I will teach you how to ease through problems and maximize your company’s profits lightning fast! Also check out my video called “How to Solve a Manufacturing Problem in 3 Days,” if you’re curious to learn more.
In summary, a lean manufacturing plant will have shorter lead times, cost savings, and highest quality. Here’s an example of how that looks in action. When you’re looking for a way to increase your company’s profits, would you prefer to spend $6 million buying new equipment in the hopes of getting ahead? Or, like a lean-minded manager, would you rather reduce scrap by 25% to see the same projected increase in overall profit margins – guaranteed – without spending a dime? Seems like a no-brainer to me!
“When I go into a plant with a lean mentality, I only plan to spend money on 10% of my projects.”
So then, 90% of my projects I will not need to spend a dime to get the very best results for the company. Talk about corporate frugality! If this blog has helped your understanding of Lean Manufacturing, be sure to subscribe so you’ll be the first to hear any new Lightning Problem Solving pointers!
Spring Cleaning, anyone?
If you guys don’t mind helping me for 2 seconds, I’d really appreciate it! I’m doing a little survey in honor of Spring! Does your company do any Spring cleaning? Type “Yes” or “No” in the comments below to participate in the survey. Thanks guys! You’re the best!
Thanks so much for stopping by, and have an awesome day!