Lean Management

Now that you’ve had your six sigma and flow kaizen events, you’ve gained some insight into how to bring your company closer into alignment with a lean manufacturing model. You’ve seen where redundancies exist in your assembly line, how stale inventory is hurting your bottom line, and why it’s important to focus your company’s resources exclusively on value-added activities.

With all this knowledge plus a solid lean management practice, you will be in a position to take your organization to the next level.  You will begin to see increases in productivity as well as profitability making your return on investment (ROI) in a lean consultant worthwhile.

“A Day in the Life:” World Class Lean Management Practices

So what’s next? How exactly do lean quality management tools work? To begin with, you may want to involve your managers in an exercise known as “A Day in the Life.” During this exercise, your managers will gain valuable insight into how much of their day is spent engaged in proactive management vs. reactive management activities. Reactive management activities include:

  • Putting out fires
  • Attending meetings
  • Performing administrative tasks
  • Dealing with personnel problems
  • Addressing quality issues

By contrast, the following are considered proactive (or lean management) activities:

  • Training employees
  • Auditing performance
  • Implementing improvements

The Right Stuff: How to Measure It

Believe it or not, when it comes to performance metrics, what you measure is as important as how you measure it. In other words: evaluating a production line for speed without also measuring for quality drives faster assembly at the expense of the finished product. Your workers may assemble more units per hour, but the number of defective units will increase. On the other hand, if you use key performance indicators (KPIs) to drive the right behavior, you’ll get the results you want. The KPIs that will drive comprehensive improvements in your production line are:

  • Safety
  • Quality
  • Cost
  • Delivery
  • Employee Involvement

Measuring results in these areas will promote daily accountability across your entire enterprise. In a very short time, you will begin reaping the rewards of a lean manufacturing environment.

Supporting Your Operators and Assemblers

In order to move forward with lean practices, it’s important to provide your operators and assemblers with ample support. Your managers are your most effective resource in this area. If lean management best practices dictate spending approximately 40 percent of the day implementing workflow improvements, then managers have got to be spending more time on the floor. There is really no other way for them to understand the challenges faced by operators and assemblers on a daily basis.

Once your managers have been given a chance to evaluate their own daily patterns, their practices are compared to world class standards. This can be quite an eye-opening experience. For example, in a non-lean management environment, it’s fairly typical for managers to spend about 20 percent of their day putting out fires. The world class standard, by contrast, is half that. When these numbers are set down in black and white, the impetus to change is pretty powerful.

The Right Company for the Highest Quality Outcomes

There is no such thing as lean manufacturing without lean management; the two must go hand in hand. In order for your managers to implement best practices management techniques, they will need your support. LSI can show you how to provide them with the training and support they need to transform your enterprise into a world class example of lean manufacturing. To learn more about what LSI can do for your company, contact them for a quote at www.lsicg.com.