Understanding the Need for Lean
Below are questions we frequently receive about lean management, lean consulting, productivity, kaizen, lean training, set-up reduction, and more. If your question does not appear below or the answer is not satisfactory, please contact us.
How does implementing lean help grow my business?
If the products or services your company provides took half as long to process and deliver to your customers, would that be beneficial to your bottom line? Would that lead-time reduction give your company an advantage on your competition? If the answer is yes, then lean will help grow your business. Lean focuses on eliminating non-value-added processes; these non-value added processes absorb cost, and that cost cannot be pass on to the customer. These non-value-added processes are commonly referred to as the eight wastes and drive unnecessary lead-times and costs to your business.
- Defective Product (Scrap and rework)
- Overproduction (Work In process inventory)
- Inventory (Working capital)
- Excessive Motion (Hunting and searching for needed items)
- Over Processing (Doing non-value added processing)
- Transportation (Excessive moving of product or material/information through the process)
- Human Assets (Unused employee creativity)
By eliminating or reducing these wastes your company will be more profitable and improve customer satisfaction, thus ultimately grow your business.
How do we generate employee excitement for change?
Employee excitement comes from involving them in the decision-making process of an improvement to their area. Who knows better about the process than the worker doing the job? Lean is embraced when management allows the employees to give ideas on how to make their processes better, then clearing the obstacles to allow it to happen. Celebrate change is important as well, letting the worker know that even the smallest changes to a process is good and with out their involvement in change the company will not be successful.
Can we expect results right away?
Each kaizen focus should be an inch wide and a mile deep and directly linked to a future state Value Stream Map or Strategy Deployment Plan. If scoped correctly, results should be realized immediately following the kaizen event.
Depending on current conditions and number of kaizens applied to the process, the expected results would range from:
Shop Floor Improvements:
- Worker Productivity: 15%–40%
- Inventory reduction of (working capital): 50%–70%
- Floor Space Reduction: 30%–50%
- Quality (Reduced reject rate): 20%–40%
- Reduction in Lead-Time: 50%–70%
- Reduction in Hand-Offs: 40%–50%
- Increased Productivity: 20%–40%
- Reduction of Process Steps: 50%–60%
Results should be compared to the conditions before the kaizen was implemented.
NOTE: P&L results may vary based on:
- The number of improvements conducted per year
- How long the company has been actively engaged in lean
- Your ability to sustain the results
How do we sustain our results after a lean kaizen event?
Any improvement to a process requires an edit to standard work that reflects the best combination of people, machines and standard WIP. Not incorporating standard work to a process improvement is planning to fail in sustainment.
Incorporating post kaizen measurements to track sustainment or any unforeseen changes to the desired results coupled with an early response support mechanism such as daily gemba walks by supervision and/or management is a method that must be part of the lean sustainment culture.
How do we get our managers more involved in lean activities?
Education and training should be the first step in getting leadership engaged in daily lean activities. Inviting the leadership to tour companies that have successfully adopted the lean principles is always helpful and goes beyond just classroom training and publications of lean implementation.
Before working with any company Lean synergy International will provide lean training for executive as well as world class plant tours of companies that have more than a decade successfully implementing lean. Only after the leadership decides to move forward with lean will LSI conduct a thorough lean assessment of your business and develop a strategy to begin or enhance your companies Lean implementation process.
How do you apply lean principles to high mix low volume environment?
All businesses, discrete manufacturing, process industries and service industries such as banking or health care are made up of value added and non-value added processes that bring about goods and services the customer wants. It’s these non-value added steps to a process whether high volume or low volume/high mix that you want your lean program to reduce or eliminate.
Lean Synergy International has successfully implemented lean in low volume, highly engineered, one time build manufacturing environments, such as satellite space structure fabrication and assembly where designs changes are frequent throughout the process and the build quantities are one. Our goal is to understand the non-value added processes and work with our clients to develop improvements to achieve perfect quality, lower cost and improved delivery performance.