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Combining lean manufacturing and TQM

maninfrontofbuilding30337424.jpgLean manufacturing is often combined with Six Sigma and Total Quality Management to improve the manufacturing process. TQM and lean manufacturing follow the same principles of reducing waste and improving customer outputs. Typically the goals are used as follows:

  • Identify a problem

  • Create a solution

  • Implement the solution

  • Measure the results to see if it worked

  • Make adjustments to prevent the problem from occurring in the future

Implementing lean manufacturing with TQM provides you with access to more tools that can be used to reduce errors and improve customer satisfaction. In order to combine the two, you must follow these steps:

Step # 1 - Think Lean

In order to implement a total change in the way your company does business, you need to develop a plan to think lean. Take a look at the products you manufacture, do they promote a lean-working environment? Seek ways to reduce the amount of time it takes for the raw goods to be transformed into finished products. You will need to walk through the entire process and look for ways to use less money and produce less waste. Contact your vendors and negotiate lower prices. Be careful about price negotiations because this can cause you to lose out on the quality of your raw goods. Getting lower prices negates the purpose if you are producing lower-quality products.

Step # 2 - Use Tools
Once you start are able to reduce your prices, you can discuss ways to start making the plant run more effectively. The 5 "S" method is a great tool to use to get your plant cleaned up and ready to run. Employees will be in charge of their own workstations and they are in charge of cleaning them and organizing them. When their workstations are cleaner, it is easier to find the necessary tools they need to perform their job duties.

Step # 3 - Building blocks
TQM and lean manufacturing work in sync when you implement aspects of both. One of the best features of TQM is building blocks. The building blocks refer to the following:

  • Processes - Define a set of inputs for the desired outputs that satisfy the company and customer needs. The process must continue to look for ways to improve quality along the way.

  • People - This refers to your employees and suppliers. These are the individuals that help your company in some way. They must have a mindset that is focused on improving quality and implementing a teamwork environment.

  • Management Systems - The management system is needed in order to follow the objectives that have been outlined in your business plan.

  • Performance - This building block is used to monitor TQM and then set the control standards for the different indicators that are listed in the business plan.

Step # 4 - Managers
TQM and lean manufacturing will work if you have quality managers within the company that can control the system. Implementing lean manufacturing and TQM can be overwhelming, which is why you must assign the responsibilities to multiple employees. They must teach their employees the importance of getting things done right the first time around if you want to eliminate unnecessary waste from the company.

Staff members must also be trained to recognize barriers in the production method. Some of the barriers can come from malfunctioning equipment, miscommunication, and problems with suppliers. It is their job to maintain the relationship with your suppliers so you must have managers that can control the interactions between the two companies.

Lean manufacturing and TQM are not instant solutions to problems. They require a long-term commitment from everyone within the company. Everyone must have a commitment to quality if your company is going to become successful.

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