Going Lean

The concept of Lean Management works on the premise that business operations support the notion of continuous improvement through incremental changes in specific processes to improve efficiency (or kaizen as coined by the Japanese). Change is inevitable, why not make it a good change? In Lean Management change is always for the betterment of the origination.

This philosophy centers on the elimination of waste of all forms in a work environment. Some effective lean methods include Total Productive Maintenance (TPM), 5S workplace organization, Kanban scheduling systems and Six Sigma which all in some way could improve profitability and increase productivity when implemented. A more popular method, TPM, is a team based system used to improve production while at the same time increase employee morale and job satisfaction.

What guides

Lean Management

 principles?

Eliminating any waste of time, effort or money are integral components of lean management. Sources of waste stem from an unaligned machine producing defective products to poor environmental conditions preventing a worker from working at maximum efficiency levels.

With roots in manufacturing, there are guiding principles to lean management which include:

  1. Defining value from the customers’ standpoint.
  2. Carefully identifying each step in the business process and eliminating any steps which do not create value.
  3. Ensuring the value-creating steps occur in tight sequence, so the product will flow smoothly towards the customer.

Steps 1 to 3 are repeated until all waste is eliminated.

Advantages and

Disadvantages

of Lean Management

Advantages

  • Increase productivity
  • Reduce amount of floor space
  • Reduce manufacturing lead time
  • Improve flexibility to react to changes
  • Improved quality
  • Reduce on costs
  • Saves on time
  • Product failure rates can be reduced
  • Increased output

Disadvantages

  • Long term commitments
  • Can be risky in some processes
  • Negative perception by some staff members
  • Over reliance on technology
  • Cost saving may not materialize
  • Can be expensive to implement
  • The organization may become reactive instead of proactive to customer needs
  • Relies on a good supply chain

Lean Management ultimately allows a firm to gain a competitive advantage by going beyond merely increasing productivity, reducing costs and improving efficiency. By utilizing lean techniques in various management processes, staff are able to develop skills which improves reaction time and as a byproduct, increase sales. However, if the lean techniques are over-used in an effort to gain more production for example, the employees can become discouraged and as a result undermine the positive effects of the techniques employed in the first place.

Can lean methods work in all types of business?

Although Lean Management stemmed from the manufacturing industry, many other industries have also seen lean as a way of improving its safety, quality, speed, cost and employee morale. As such, all industries can benefit from the core principles of lean in one way or another. These core principles promote continual improvement, customer focused processes, favours quality, improvements in flow and rigorous but non-bureaucratic experimental problem solving. Thinking of going lean? Learn more from AdVizze Consulting Inc or visit www.ad-vizze.com

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