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

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