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Lean manufacturing training

groupofcoworkers32012584.jpgJapanese auto makers have been using lean manufacturing for over 50 years and their market share has more than doubled in the United States from the early 1990s. Seeing the impressive results from Toyota, other companies have eagerly jumped on board with lean manufacturing. Unlike other process improvement strategies, lean manufacturing actually works.

The lean training you receive is critical to its success. Everyone responds to training differently so you may need to change the way you train some of your employees on lean manufacturing. However, there are several different training programs to choose from making it much easier for companies to find a training method that works well for them.

When it comes to lean training, it is critical to select the right training program or you could be wasting valuable time and money. Lean manufacturing uses different tools to help your company reduce wastes and increase efficiency but these tools are specific to different types of processes and they don't always work appropriately for every business. The good thing is that the lean tools all work together to help reduce waste and solve problems within the business. So even if you do select the wrong ones initially, you can still find a way to incorporate them in the future.

If you try to find different tools to fit every single need your company has, you will waste a lot of money and lose valuable employees. Spending too much time on different training programs reduces employee morale and this decreases productivity and produces additional wastes. Trying to learn so many different lean manufacturing principles causes distrust with management and it is distracting to the employees as they do not have time to focus on their jobs.

A great deal of successful lean manufacturing relies on the employees. The employees must change their working habits and behaviors. Changing your behavior is extremely difficult and this can force many employees to become frustrated with their jobs. If the employee has been with the company for many years and you are just asking them to change the way they work, they will have resistance at first and it may take them longer to change their behaviors.

To successfully implement lean manufacturing, bring in a few consultants that have experience with all the different lean manufacturing tools. Hire some of them to be full-time staff members so they can focus on changing the culture of the office and turn it into a positive working environment. It helps to have at least one trained staff member because they have been down this road before and they understand what works and what doesn't work.

As you are going through the lean manufacturing training process, use the PDCA model. PDCA stands for "plan, do, check and act". This model allows for flexibility, which can really help you along the training course. You will need a certified Six Sigma or lean manufacturing consultant to teach you PDCA because they will come with experience of the different tools and implementation ideas. Try to find a consultant that has experienced some failure in addition to their successes.

After your staff completes the lean manufacturing training program, they still need some re-fresher's in lean manufacturing from time to time. Purchase some books to keep on site so your employees can re-fresh their skills. It also helps to review the results from other companies, especially your competitors, to see what tools they are using and if they are actually working. If you are in contact with some of these companies, ask questions about their implementation process. Find out what was difficult for them so you can avoid these mistakes with your lean manufacturing process.

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