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Committing to process improvement

handshake32145701.jpgCompanies have been using process improvement strategies for several years. Lean manufacturing happens to be one of the most popular process improvement strategies. Many companies have jumped on board with process improvement with the hope that they will save money by cutting or eliminating wastes and improving customer satisfaction. While this is a good goal, you need to truly commit to process improvement in order for it to be successful. Process improvement is not something that you can quickly implement in the company and expect it to work, it is a long-term approach that requires constant work, involvement, and commitment from everyone at your company.

In order for process improvement to work, you need to select some strong managers to implement it. Since process improvement is driven from the top down, your upper management must also be 100% committed to change in order for it to actually happen. Every single employee will have a different role in process improvement. This requires people to let go of their current working standards and conform to the new guidelines and standards of the process improvement method.

Process improvement also involved controlling your employees and equipment. You need to document everything to check the numbers in the future to see the improvements you are making. Since companies are run by humans, it is important to develop plans that allow for change. You can do this by creating well-defined goals that are attainable. Once you achieve some of the goals, take time to celebrate your successes with your employees. This is a great way to build unity and teamwork within the company.

Depending upon which method you use (lean manufacturing, Six Sigma, TQM) you will have some guidelines and timeframes laid out for you. All 3 methods are long-term approaches to improving the company so it is important to treat them this way. Approaching it as a quick fix will surely end in failure. Failures within lean manufacturing normally begin at the foundation, well before you even implemented it.

Process improvement methods are not something that you can worry about once a week; it is part of your day-to-day behavioral patterns. Changing your mindset is a big part of process improvement. This is why you need to have strong leaders to help guide the rest of your employees along the path. Hire a lean manufacturing company to implement lean manufacturing at your firm. They have experience with the ups and downs of lean manufacturing and they will help you stay motivated and on-track with your goals.

Any process improvement method looks pretty overwhelming when you first look upon it. While it may look extensive, it is usually a lot easier than it seems. You just need to have proper planning and good managers to help you along the way. Data is one of your biggest tools as you will need to review it to figure out where some of the wastes may be lurking. Make sure you have a universal method of how to collect, organize, and analyze the data so everyone at the company knows what they need to look for. Don't let lean manufacturing fade, make sure you have the right people devoting more time to it if you cannot afford to spend 50% or more of your time on it each day.

Process improvement strategies are aimed at setting and accomplishing goals. Goals are one of the best ways to stay committed to a process improvement strategy because you have something to look forward to and you have something to measure improvement against. Break the goals down into smaller, manageable ones if you have struggled when you are trying to reach the goals.

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