Lean Manufacturing Process
Understanding the Lean Manufacturing Process
Lean manufacturing has been called a miracle. Why is that? It is because
of the dramatic changes that the lean manufacturing process gives to the
company. When improvements and results are immediate like that, managers
fawn over the concepts and try to emulate their example in their
But not all who apply the lean manufacturing process become a success.
Often this is because of the lack of understanding of the entire lean
manufacturing process. Aside from that, organizations need to be trained
and educated about the philosophy of lean manufacturing.
The lean manufacturing process
A successful lean manufacturing process begins with the proper training
by lean manufacturing consultants. These consultants not only aids
management achieve their goals but they educate with lean manufacturing
tools that they can use to further improve the quality of their service
to the company.
Step two of the lean manufacturing process is the creation of a
diagnostic report. This an overall evaluation of exactly what's needed by
pointing out the problem areas and making an assessment of what goals can
be achieve, using what resources and when.
Step three of the lean manufacturing process is the selection of the lean
manufacturing team. These individuals play the important role of taking
charge in the lean manufacturing implementation.
The key person in the success of a lean manufacturing process is the team
leader. Tasked with the direct responsibility of implementing, evaluating
and reporting of the improvements made to the department, he or she
stands to be rewarded or reprimanded.
The people chosen to lead a lean manufacturing process don’t have to come
from just the middle management. There are others who might be more
capable and effective as team leaders. The company must open the
opportunity to help change the organization. Selection of the core team
members through profiling and expertise is a great way to send the
message of equality across.
Step four of the lean manufacturing process is the training of the core
team members. Although they may have a grasp of the fundamentals of lean
manufacturing, the training for the team members must be undergone for
them to understand where they are going. At this stage, project planning
taught and practiced.
Once all the data and information necessary for identifying and analyzing
the problem areas of a department is gathered, the next step is the
simulation of the proposed project plan. The lean manufacturing process
is heavily dependent on the success of this test run because this is a
major consideration in the approval of the new system in the company.
It may be tempting to use a computer simulation model but there are
certain factors that machine do not take into account like emotions,
relationships and unforeseen circumstances like environmental and
Actual test runs must address issues like what happens when the demand
increases by 25% percent, can the proposed system cope and when does it
breakdown? How is process affecting the inventory? Is there any waste
produced along the way? After answering these, the system has to iron out
of kinks. If not, then it’s back to the drawing board.
Once the new system is perfected, the results are properly documented and
improvements are evident, the next step in the lean manufacturing process
is the development of procedures and governing guidelines to prepare for
the implementation of the new system.
This stage of the lean manufacturing process requires another set of
training. This time it is for the cell teams who directly work in the
assessed department. Once the simulation is realized into the actual
project, the effects can still vary. This is especially true for a large
department; say the entire can production line.
The last step in the lean manufacturing process is the performance
auditing of the new system. This can be done after a few months since the
implementation of the new system. When the lean manufacturing process is
accomplished and the goals are achieved, the results are as clear and the
reality of the company gaining additional profits.
Now that you understand the lean manufacturing process a little better,
it’s time to put your knowledge to the test by finding out which areas of
your organization badly needs a make over. The success of the lean
manufacturing process depends entirely on how the system is currently
operating and how much management wants to turn it around.