Kaizen – a Japanese term,(constant process focus on getting better) is at the very heart of Lean Manufacturing. Lean Manufacturing can be helpful in many processes throughout your business, including BOTH manufacturing and transactional processes. Some, any or all of the processes involved in your business can be included in your Lean Manufacturing deployment and initiatives. The key lean manufacturing principles can be identified as:
• Getting it right the first time with no defects identifying and solving problems from the source,
quickly and as they happen
• Non-value added elimination and optimizing all resources at your disposal
• Kaizen or on-going CI or Continuous improvement as it is also known, keeping on raising the bar of performance and excellence in your business.
This can be done through Lean Manufacturing focusing in on reducing costs, improving quality, increasing productivity and better information sharing, streamlined operations and great teamwork, focused, targeted process improvement.
• Customer-demand drives activity in a pull NOT push system and inventory, wait times etc., effectively trimmed and cut down (even eliminated where possible).
• Adaptability, agility and flexibility efficient, quick without giving up on quality.
• Extending these efficiencies and efforts to your supply chain and other business partnerships in a collaborative effort, building relationships that fit, work and last.
It is like having a recipe for success to success in the new global, fast-paced, technology enabled and driven, highly competitive marketplace and economy. Using the Lean Manufacturing way and tools better enables and empowers you and your business to not only succeed in this environment, but flourish and thrive!
Its history and future is built on the premise that wasted, time, space, energy, effort, money and poor quality all cost money and should be made visible, dealt with and Lean is basically all about getting the right things, to the right place, at the right time, in the right quantity while minimizing waste and being flexible and open to change.
Working quicker with less effort and waste, being efficient, consistent and with the minimum amount of waste, unnecessary movement, cost and time, Lean Manufacturing quickly sets you up for success and business improvement. It is about more than merely focusing on manufacturing processes. There is more to the philosophy and methodology than meets the eye.
Think of innovative ways to cut costs in your business and operation without risk to quality and customer. Lean Manufacturing Eliminate and trim unnecessary process steps, cheaper alternatives or costly extras that are not really deemed necessary. Shared utility or tools are a great way to minimize expenses, set-up and overall costs. Make the most the resources that you do have available.
Take a closer look at the materials and processes you and your team use everyday and try to spot the as is process. Do a reality check. See the costs and waste, put metrics to things, raise awareness of what could be done differently, more effectively and cheaper. Sometimes process steps can be eliminated or combined to get to a result quicker and use resources, time, quality better.
Standardization goes a long way to cut down on waste. Tweaking and adjusting machines for no apparent reason other than routine and habit should be stopped and taken a close look at. Reuse, reduce, recycle comes into play. More effective materials and process steps that take less time will often help your business out too.
How technology, automation, outsourcing etc. can save you and your customers some time and money. Taking actions to correct certain aspects within your business, rid it of waste, expense and streamline processes for optimal function and ultimate success is what Lean Manufacturing is all about.
Learning by doing and hands-on involvement is a great byproduct and enabler of these processes and initiatives. It engages and energizes. It sparks interest and builds involvement and action. Make changes, review the results and adapt if necessary, celebrating your success, looking for new opportunity summarizes this ongoing cycle well.