The Pragmatic (and Effective!) Approach to Lean
You’ve had a horrible experience with lean before, even after being told it’s supposed to make your life easier. These horrible experiences are often caused by “cookie cutter” implementations that don’t address your unique business needs and employees. You need a provider that will work with you and will implement a system built for you and your employees. When choosing a lean provider, make sure your new provider understands the importance of these three points.
Your frontline employees are the ones that will be most impacted by implementing a lean production, so it’s important that they are involved in the process. Having a “foundation-up strategy” does exactly that. Employees help guide the production changes and they see first hand how their jobs are going to be easier. They will feel empowered by their changes and will directly understand the decisions that were made. In return, they will know the new processes up and down, understand the benefits and new efficiencies and overall feel more comfortable with the change. A lean program will only work if the employees using it see the benefit.
Implementation By Area
Don’t try to change everything all at once. Lean will be better responded to if you implement it in phases, but choose where to start wisely. It’s important to choose an area that’s most open to change and it helps if it’s centrally located and visible to most employees. Progress will be noticed by others. Naturally, more departments will want to reap the benefits and will on their own start organizing and looking for ways to enhance their space. This could even be used as a little friendly competition to see what department can do it best before the actual lean implementation happens to their area.
Continuing the Success
If the new lean practices aren’t sustainable, success will be temporary. Training documents and SOPs are crucial for a lasting impact. Every new employee should be onboarded to the lean practices from the start. Any production changes made or new practices put in place while implementing, should be recorded so employees can move around and still know the process. The success of your lean program relies on each and every employee.
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We have many resources available when it comes to lean. Check out our blog series, 3 Benefits of Implementing Lean into Your Manufacturing Production or get more information on our complimentary lean assessment.