“A corporation is a living organism; it has to continue to shed its skin. Methods have to change. Focus has to change. Values have to change. The sum total of those changes is transformation.” – Andrew Grove, former CEO, Intel
What is Lean Manufacturing?
First, the textbook definition: “lean” is a consumer-oriented methodology that utilizes continuous improvement to help a company through waste elimination, changes in work culture, and engaging people in different processes.
Put more simply, lean manufacturing encourages taking a holistic look at an entire process and finding ways to improve it.
Some of the fundamental truths of Lean manufacturing, (which have stolen the spotlight in recent decades) emphasize efficiency, high quality, and positive attitudes through changing several parts of the business.
The modern concept of Lean has roots in ideas by American icon Henry Ford, who popularized the idea of eliminating waste through flow production and the moving assembly line. However, when Ford fell into the trap of not being able to provide variety without sacrificing innovation, Toyota founder Kiichiro Toyoda focused his attention on the product’s process from start to finish. By sizing machines according to volume and having each process notify its predecessor of need for materials, the company was able to achieve high variety and high quality with low production costs and quick turnaround times – a concept that changed the world as it spread through industrialized nations.
Key principles of Lean manufacturing include:
Elimination of Waste– To eliminate waste, managers and C-level executives must review all facets of their company and determine where and how unnecessary work affects the business as a whole. Once leadership has identified work that has no added value, operations can be streamlined and processes become more efficient. Different types of “waste” include waiting, overproduction, and unnecessary transportation of goods.
Continuous Improvement – Also known as “kaizen,” the idea of continuous improvement – constant change toward achievement of a desired state – forms a strong foundation for Lean implementation. Change and innovation are key components of this idea, as both are necessary for growth and lend themselves toward improvement.
Respect for Humanity – Lean manufacturing has proven itself unique because of its emphasis on people. Manufacturing not only deals with demands in the eyes of the average consumer, but also the workforce that is producing goods for the customer. Businesses that adopt a “respect for humanity” ideology often boast high morale because the employees find worth in their work, which strengthens the business as a whole and promotes trust between support and leadership.
Levelized Production – On the logistics side of things, Lean manufacturing also promotes the idea of a consistent workload. Some manufacturers wait until they receive orders before they begin any aspect of production, which can lead to slow turnaround times and customer dissatisfaction. However, levelized production methods call for an equal amount of work every day regardless of demand, which leads to more efficiency and better organization.
There are several additional Lean principles that should be taken into account when exploring implementation; however, these are among the most crucial in forming a basis for change and innovation that can wholly benefit your company.
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