11/16/15 10:30 AM
By Kenta Tomura
Any facility or corporation interested in creating wealth within its industry should look to lean thinking for the solution. Based on the principle of customer value, lean thinking applies the tenets of lean manufacturing and management to the production process to maximize value. Lean principle application results in increased revenue streams for your business. A combination of lean manufacturing and lean management get you there.
Today, lean manufacturing practices improve production facilities throughout the world. The implementation of this method, however, requires more than simple adjustments in your production schedule. It requires building an entire lean enterprise. Here, we’ll discuss the difference between lean manufacturing and lean management and why you should get your whole company onboard.
In short, lean manufacturing is the process of identifying and eliminating waste. Lean facilities take a hardened look into the manufacturing schedule; quite literally the “nuts and bolts” of a production plant. From here, they identify and reduce waste based on operational analysis. Lean also takes into account waste created through overburden and unevenness of workloads. In summation, lean manufacturing identifies and mitigates seven wastes in manufacturing:
A sufficient lean manufacturing process results in maximum output with minimal input. Plenty of facilities fail, however, in the implementation phase.
The ambitious approach to lean manufacturing makes it an involved process. Proper implementation requires deep commitment within any facility. It sets a standard that impacts production at all levels. To determine what it takes for a company to succeed in this endeavor, it’s easier to look at why companies failed to implement a lean culture.
Typically, companies lacked team autonomy and commitment from senior members. Organizational communications and inertia were also lacking. Overall, a general absence of interest in lean culture aided in the failure of proper implementation.
Lean manufacturing and management perfect the art of lean thinking; one cannot function without the other. So what does this look like in practice? Take for example the Espresso Book Machine at the University of Washington. Their bookstore features an onsite printing press that pulls text from their online library and prints and binds a book per customer request. The process saves space and significantly reduces waste in storage.
Clearly, lean thinking is a never-ending journey. Evolving technologies and customer expectations require a continued, evolving approach to lean. Though difficult, these approaches to reducing waste in your production schedule provide your facility with the best possible financial outcome. In doing so, you’ll find higher employee morale and greater overall output with less waste and more money making its way into your revenue stream.