R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Find out what it means to Lean

In the previous installment of our blog series, we addressed how Lean manufacturing can foster positive changes in company culture. Higher morale, greater trust, better camaraderie – but how does Lean methodology really create the respect employees crave?

As with any sector, manufacturing boasts leaders with an array of personal backgrounds and management styles. Those wanting to implement Lean as part of their operations are often looking for solutions to their short-term challenges, and whether it’s about meeting quota, enhancing equipment, or doing more with less talent, it’s important to think of employees as people instead of mere resources.

Lean expert David Veech, a co-founder and former Executive Director of the Institute of Lean Systems, notes while drastic changes in operations can be a stressful process, morale should not be sacrificed in favor of efficiency.

“Lean is a people-focused system based on a simple system: No one knows the work better than the people who do it,” Veech said in a guest entry for LeanBlog.org. “Lean emphasizes educating and cross-training workers and letting those who are closest to the work design the system.”

Lean systems go far beyond basic methodologies of efficiency and streamlining. People are transformed as well as systems, and the standardization of processes can level workloads and even reduce everyday stress if implemented correctly.

Deploying Lean is no easy feat, and it can be made even more difficult if workers are unsupportive or lukewarm on the idea. However, giving employees the opportunity to offer input or participate in discussions can cultivate commitment – a necessary element for a culture of continuous improvement.

“All of this is not to say Lean transformation is easy,” Veech said. “Extensive training and education are needed at all levels… But the results are well worth it.”

Want to know how MAGNET’s Lean experts can help you improve your company? Call Linda Barita at 216.391.7766 or email linda.barita@magnetwork.org to set up a consultation!

MAGNET is a part of Ohio MEP, part of the NIST-MEP program.

Posted by Liz Fox in Lean

Most Recent


February 22, 2018 by Sam Wasylyshyn

HEADLINE The survey definitively shows that product innovation leads to more growth, while “grow your own workforce” strategies will be needed to fill the major labor shortages hampering small manufacturer growth. Emerging technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, and digital manufacturing are beginning to enhance innovation and productivity, but still have significant room for adoption amongst Ohio’s small manufacturing businesses. ABOUT THE SURVEY Under the direction of the Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership (Ohio MEP), MAGNET: The Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network conducted a thorough survey of Ohio’s manufacturing base. Contributing approximately 20% of Ohio’s jobs (and driving in some regions up to 50% of Ohio’s economy), and generating a disproportionate amount of export revenues and Gross Regional Product, manufacturing is critical to Ohio. Greater than 95% of Ohio’s manufacturers are small (under 500 employees), and these manufacturers need to remain competitive both nationally and internationally to ensure our economy’s health. Ohio’s Development Services Agency and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which runs the MEP, recognizes the importance of this sector and fuels MAGNET and the Ohio MEP program to directly serve and support innovation, efficiency, and growth in small and medium manufacturers. What manufacturers need

Manufacturing is Facing a New Reality

February 06, 2018 by Sam Wasylyshyn

How Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Can Help Keep Our Engineers Safe and Our Manufacturing Strong Recall how difficult it was to put together complex LEGO creations when you were a child or helping a child. Now, picture assembling a fighter plane from a room full of parts. Even highly trained engineers can benefit from technology to help improve consistency and quality. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are making near-perfect assembly a possibility in the manufacturing space. By wearing AR glasses that use cameras, depth sensors and motion sensors to overlay images onto the real working environment, engineers and factory workers can visualize the exact bolts, parts, part numbers and instructions on how to assemble a particular component correctly. Lockheed Martin began using AR goggles and improved F-35 assembly time by 30 percent, in addition to increasing accuracy to 96 percent[1]. In order to remain competitive, businesses should consider the ways VR and AR can improve efficiency and supply chain productivity. According to a recent BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research report[2], AR platforms can provide companies up to 25 percent in cost savings on installation of equipment. Here are four ways VR/AR is disrupting the mid-market manufacturing space:

Is Technology Your Thing? Connect with TechLink

February 06, 2018 by Sam Wasylyshyn

Why should you consider TechLink? To date: More than 1,270 technology transfer partnerships brokered between companies and 110 DoD labs or centers, including all 65 DoD labs that generate patented inventions More than 600 license agreements facilitated between DoD and companies nationwide, transferring over 1,000 DoD inventions to industry Facilitated 60% of total DoD licensing agreements over the past 10 years What does TechLink Specialize in? TechLink specializes in 10 technology areas: Energy, BioTech, Materials, Sensors, Photonics, Software/Info Technology, Military Technology, Electronics and Environmental Technologies. 4 Ways TechLink can help you: Actively market DoD inventions to industry nationwide Help companies evaluate these inventions and submit license applications Facilitate communications between DoD labs and companies leading to “win-win” license agreements for both parties Maintain the nation’s only comprehensive database of DoD-patented inventions, fully searchable through techlinkcenter.org Why should you believe in TechLink? Check out the TechLink technology database and the Technology Spotlight for regular updates on available technologies and contact information for the related Technology Manager. The Manager will help you assess the technology for your company needs, facilitate your connection with DoD, and walk you through the licensing process. Most DoD inventions have civilian and commercial applications. DoD technologies licensed by TechLink have generated