How To Implement Lean Manufacturing

The Kaizen Blitz\Kaizen Event is a powerful tool in the lean manufacturing process. The blitz enables quick results to occur and often is one of the first things companies do to begin their process.

Currently, Six Sigma can be a way of life, or for the rest of us it can be a toolbox. Not every project needs a failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA) or a value stream map (VSM). It’s true these tools can be very useful and provide valuable information in understanding risks and process flow. However, they will take time and may be completely unnecessary. Choosing which tools are necessary and using them correctly is key. If there are any anglers reading this, they’ll know one all important phrase “match the hatch”. This basically means that you must be able to change your tool box (fly box) as needed where ever you are working (fishing). Even when you ask different master black belts about which tools to use, you’ll find that each one has their personal favorites.

Adapt your presentation to suit the need. Everyone learns in a different manner: some people love numbers and statistics, while others absorb information through anecdotal stories. Others like both ways of learning. Whatever you do, be sensitive to your audience and adapt your presentation to suit.

This is a bit subjective, but during your ERP comparison, meet with the provider’s service management. Find out how committed they are to you as an individual client to ensure that you are successful. Find out how easy it is to engage the service division’s management with an escalation should you have a support issue.

Typically materiales lean relies on work cell concepts in achieving its goals. Work cells are not just a set of equipment arranged in to a different layout. In a work cell people operate different to the way they would operate in a line assembly system. Workers are multi skilled and they can perform at least two or three operations. This makes the system flexible. From the worker point of view the job has a bigger scope and they have freedom. Who will want to continuously perform the same task over and over again, especially when plenty of machinery available for the tasks of that nature.

Now, you have another platform consideration option to factor into your ERP comparison. Cloud computing. There are more and more ERP vendors who are offering a hosted solution. But keep in mind that this may only be a hosted server, or it may be a true multi-tenant environment where upgrades are easily maintained. This will require little if any internal IT support so it could be a less expensive solution to support. It could also have a negative impact on IT moral since you would be taking responsibilities away from them. The key solution here is to make sure that IT is involved from the beginning of the ERP Comparison when it comes to platform discussions. Early decisions on the platform often determine potential vendor candidates.

They will also see the possible solutions and realize the value 5S, Kaizen, Value Stream Mapping and Six Sigma. Now, when they ask, What is lean manufacturing going to do for us? they will answer their own question.


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