It’s been more than a quarter-century since The Machine that Changed the World was published, in which Jim Womack and colleagues presented the Toyota Production System (TPS) and lean thinking to the Western world. A strong majority of manufacturers have adopted this methodology, and its principles have since spread from production to all functions (front office, finance, R&D, etc.) as well as to healthcare and other service industries.
Some manufacturers have flourished within new lean cultures. But many other firms — maybe yours — have achieved some results from their lean efforts, but perhaps not as much as they had hoped. Or maybe your company is among the one-third of manufacturers not yet using lean or TPS. Whichever describes your organization, it’s time to take a new look at lean — and at five keys to implementation that will make lean work for you:
Embed lean in your organization’s DNA: Lean isn’t about tools or techniques, but about changing how you think. Truly lean manufacturers have workforces — from the CEO to the janitor — in which every employee looks for problems (not blame), thinks about how to fix them, and then solves them. It’s critical that a leader (i.e., you) model this behavior daily for employees; if the boss doesn’t believe in lean, why should anybody else?
Focus on the customer: Every action should be considered within a context of providing optimum value to customers. Whatever your role — and whatever you’re doing — ask yourself: “Would a customer pay for this?” For example: if your workers are for waiting parts, due to poor scheduling, material-handling delays, or miscommunication between you and your supplier: Will a customer pay for the extra labor? Or if you’ve just scrapped a batch of defective products: Will the customer pay those costs?
Build a system: For lean to succeed, it needs to become “the way” things are done in your company. That means standardization of every process, so that everyone works in the same manner and can rapidly identify variations in a process. As employees retire and new hires sign on, the system remains intact — along with your profits.
Make sure the entire value stream is involved: All aspects of your company and supply chain should operate with the lean system. Any gap or hiccup in the value stream — the series of steps that create a delighted customer — means the benefit flowing to the customer has been delayed or cheapened. You can begin a lean implementation with a single production line, but eventually it will need to touch everything.
Don’t be afraid to experiment: Make lean your own. Many companies with successful “lean” programs never utter the word or post its principles on walls. Call it whatever you want — but make sure that you eventually call it a success.
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One remarkable thing about the list is that it rarely changes. The order may change but the top cited standards typically don’t change. Top 10 Sited Safety and Health Violations: 501 - Fall Protection 1200 - Hazard Communication 451 - Scaffolding 134 - Respiratory Protection 147 - Lockout/Tagout 178 - Powered Industrial Trucks 1053 - Ladders 305 - Electrical, Wiring Methods 212 - Machine Guarding 303 - Electrical, General Requirements Three of the 10 sited standards are directed at the construction standard (1926) while other fall within the general industry (1910). It should be noted however that the general industry standard also has fall protection guidelines. Year after year, inspectors see the same on-the-job hazards, any one of which could result in a fatality or severe injury. More than 4,500 workers are killed on the job every year, and approximately 3 million are injured. By understanding these regulations you can improve your safety program and prevent injuries. Give me a call if you have any compliance doubts, or want to review OHSA regulations. Gwido Dlugopolsky at 216-391-7766 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Why does it take a NASCAR pit crew only 15 seconds to change four car tires when it takes people like you and me minutes? The answer is simple SMED. Single Minute Exchange of Dies, or SMED, is a process for reducing the time it takes to do equipment changeovers. Using the principles of SMED you should be able to perform any changeover in your facility in under 10 minutes! The SMED process is simple – convert as many changeover steps as possible to “external”, meaning they are done while your equipment is still RUNNING, while simplifying and streamlining the remaining steps. SMED is broken down into the following 3 Steps: Separate Convert Streamline We found this article to be very helping in explaining the SMED process in more detail: LEAN PRODUCTION - SMED A good first step to achieve this level of SMED efficiency would be to run a kaizen event at your facility to standardize (5S) your tools and supplies. Doing this alone will help you achieve 40% to 50% greater efficiency. Once the “low hanging fruit” is gone, you can still reduce setup times another 20% by practicing more advanced SMED principles.
The secret to closing any sale is to reduce uncertainty in the buyer and replace it with confidence in YOU, your PRODUCT/SERVICE, and your COMPANY. Step 1 – Confidence in YOU Someone buying from you wants to be able to fundamentally connect with you on a human level and feel confident that you’re an expert in what you’re selling If you’re selling paperclips, be an expert in paperclips If you’re selling design and engineering related services, be an expert in design and engineering related services Focus on addressing the problem, not the solution….MEANING you already know you have the solution, connect with the buyer by being an expert with the problem he/she is facing. Prove that you know the problem and all aspects of the problem like the back of your hand. Step 2- Confidence in the PRODUCT/SERVICE you are selling Someone buying from you needs to trust the product/service you are selling will solve their problem. It’s your responsibility to deliver a solution and the benefits associated with it. Basically you need to “Hit a Homerun” communicating this message. Tip – Use Success Stories: Share with the potential buyer examples of your product/service solving problems and delivering value for