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At first glance, some firms are intimated with the thought of adopting lean manufacturing because of its fancy sounding name. But, if truth be told, it's actually easier than it seems. All you need to have is the dedication and the discipline to see things through and make change happen.


These are the primary reasons why most firms often fail. For instance, with defects, instead of focusing on achieving the best quality output in the shortest period of time, some firms waste effort and energy into fixing equipment and method defects and problems. If the kinks had been addressed in the first place and the problem nipped at the bud, such an unnecessary activity would be eliminated.

Below you will read about how companies achieve success through lean manufacturing.

Patrick "Coach" Frazier

Patrick S. Frazier, CBC 
Five Star Performance, LLC
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The Five Principles of Lean Manufacturing

All companies seek ways to improve their businesses. One of the most common goals of trumping the competition is cutting expenses, which can be best achieved through lean manufacturing strategies.


But before anything, let us first define what lean manufacturing is. Lean manufacturing is a management concept that supports the 'no waste' policy. These 'wastes' refer to the seven most common reasons for under productivity and delay identified by companies all over the world.


They are inventory, over production, waiting time, transportation, processing, scrap and defects, and motion. According to studies, most firms waste between 70% and 90% of the resources available to them. These happen when there are huge stockpiles of overruns, or when it takes ten activity levels to achieve something that can be done equally as well as when completed in three steps. The list can go on, but you get the picture.


The tricky part about implementing lean manufacturing principles is that most of the wastes identified are invisible, making their reduction and eventual eradication challenging. But with careful planning, lean manufacturing should be a walk in the park for your company.


There are five core disciplines in lean manufacturing. Not all firms require their implementation, but at least one of which is necessary for the betterment, or 'leaning', of an organization.


1) Team development 

2) Cellular manufacturing   

3) Six sigma and total quality management  

4) Rapid setup
5) Pull scheduling


To complement the above, the following five lean manufacturing principles are what serve as guidelines for firms that want to maximize value out of their organization.


1) Out With Waste

Lean manufacturing principles focus on eliminating waste from the company. This means taking out unnecessary departments or redundant positions, or eradicating processes that just cause delay.

If it means terminating jobs, then do so. Lean manufacturing espouses that all resources, land, persons and capital, are used in the best and most efficient way they can be used.


2) Do It Right The First Time

Trial and error methods are simply a waste of resources and time. If enough effort were placed in carefully planning a certain manufacturing process, then there wouldn't be the need to start all over again, or settle with mediocre situations.


3) Always Seek The Best

Every company should always reach for the highest value that can be achieved. All the effort will be futile and major waste will occur if this isn't done.


4) Be Flexible

Lean manufacturing principles do not support stiff and linear thinking. If something needs to be improved and changed along the way, then do so at once, instead of contending with the original plan that has been eventually found to be resource and time-wasteful along the way.


5) Don't Push, Pull

Consumers should be given the freedom to decide what they want. As a manufacturer, you should impose trends or products to your clients. Rather, you should always be on the lookout for what will make your consumers happy.


Of course, adopting lean manufacturing principles does not always mean that your company is saved. It still takes careful planning, method mapping, and a lot of discipline to succeed. If your company is not wary of the consequences of strategies that are haphazardly implemented, then these lean manufacturing principles will be in vain, and a total waste.   



October 15, 2013
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