Sunday, November 6, 2016

LEAN in a Nutshell

I thought it would be a good time to review some very basic lean concepts. 

For example, the goal of LEAN is FLOW. Flow is that pie m the sky condition where our customer gives us an order, and imagine that that order comes into our buildng(s) and never stops moving. It moves non-stop, and as it moves nothing but value is added. Value, simply defined is the work that your customer is willing to pay for. This work is called value-added work. 

The things that slow, delay, or stop the order from flowing are called the 8 wastes. These 8 wastes are also called non-value added work This is the work that your customer WILL NOT pay for, so it comes out of your end! The 8 wastes are easy to remember if you think of the acronym DOWNTIME; defects, overproduction, waiting, no-essential processing, transport, inventory, motion and unused employee brainpower. These things are non-value added in the eyes of your customer. They are only obligated to pay for the product or service as advertised, not all the waste that is inherent to most processes.

Then there is the work that you have to do that, in the eyes of your customer, is non-value added, but required. Government required documentation is an example of this kind of work. 

Another important concept to consider is OVERBURDEN. I define this as the mpact of the work design on the people who do that work. 

As a lean company, the goal is to some day get as close to the promise land as possible.....flow, by creating a culture of continuous improvement (kaizen) to drive out non-value added work and overburden every single shift every single day. The "lean tools" come in really handy here because once you get past the low hanging fruit, you need tools like value stream mapping,, SMED, TPM etc. to SEE the waste, because it is often invisible to the naked eye. 

The hardest part of a lean strategy is the ability to create a culture of kaizen, where the people who DO the work have no appetite for waste and are constantly driving it out as part of their job. Start with employee suggestions, allow people to improve their own processes and spend time every day helping them. Demonstrate lean is important. People will do what is important to their leaders.

 By the way, the REAL goal of a lean strategy is to leverage operational excellence to cause market disruption (your customers are delighted, not satisfied, and your competitors can't compete).

Well, there's the strategy in a nutshell. Much easier said than done. Be determined and persistent find yourself a few lean zealots in your business and you can do it.

No comments:

Post a Comment