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Lean training: Extenden Entry

The goal of lean manufacturing is to reduce or eliminate excess waste and increase overall profit and production. There are several different ways to implement lean manufacturing into your company. Depending upon the type of company you are, one of the following lean manufacturing approaches will work for you.

The Toyota Production System
Toyota defines waste as being three-form, muri (overburden), mura (inconsistency), and muda (eliminate waste). Muri or overburden is considered to be all the unreasonable work that management assigns upon workers and machines due to poor organization. Some examples of muri are carrying heavy weights, dangerous tasks (behavior-based safety issues), and working at a significantly faster than normal pace. Muri defines this work as pushing a person or machine to a pace beyond their normal limits. Muri is associated with the preparation or planning phase of the production process.

Mura or inconsistency focuses on the implementation and elimination of fluctuation of scheduling. This usually falls to the operations level to schedule the quality and volume of the production process. Finally, muda or waste elimination is dealt with after the process is completed. Management oversees muda and should consider how to eliminate the deeper causes of muda formed in muri and mura. Once the causes are determined, management will then use them in the next project and slowly begin eliminating all waste together.

Muda has 7 different kinds of variables that will help to eliminate or reduce the production of waste.
1. Over-production
2. Waiting
3. Transporting
4. Inappropriate Processing
5. Unnecessary Inventory
6. Unnecessary/Excess Motion
7. Defects

Helpful Resources:
Incorporating Lean Manufacturing
This is an excellent web site if you are looking to incorporate lean manufacturing into your business. You can take quizzes online to determine what parts of lean manufacturing you would like to incorporate.

Lean Manufacturing Options
This company specializes in providing lean manufacturing training to your business. You can review all the different options of lean manufacturing such as the 5S approach, the Toyota Production System, and visual control.

7 Manufacturing Wastes
This web site discusses the 7 manufacturing wastes. It provides information on how you can reduce or eliminate the wastes from your company. You can also sign up with this consulting company to learn how to reduce waste from your company.

Help Eliminating Waste
This is a lean manufacturing company. They provide you with a brief overview about lean manufacturing and how they can help your company eliminate waste. You can contact them via internet or telephone.

Definition of Lean Manufacturing
This is an excellent definition of lean manufacturing. You can learn about the seven types of waste and what companies are doing to reduce waste. Rockford Consulting will also provide you with a third-party approach to reducing waste.

Lean Manufacturing Training
This company focuses on providing lean manufacturing training to companies. You can browse through several packages to determine which type of training will work best for your company to implement lean manufacturing.

Guidelines of Visual Control
This is an excellent web site discussing visual control. It provides information on the benefits of visual control and it provides you with the guidelines as to how you can implement it at your manufacturing plant.

Overview of Visual Control
This web site provides you with a brief overview of visual control. You can learn a basic definition and learn how visual control helps manufacturing companies. You can also link to other sites to learn about lean manufacturing.

Visual Control Program
This company provides you with a visual control program that you can implement at your business. You can contact them through their web site to discuss how they can help you start using lean manufacturing.

This is an excellent web site about pull production kanban systems. It discusses the benefits that come from implementing a pull production system and what you need in order to establish a pull production system.

Besides the 7 waste approach of Toyota, there are other approaches to lean manufacturing. Many companies have developed "tools" to assist in the identification and the elimination of waste. These tools are often called value stream mapping, 5-S, Kanban and visual control. The goal of each approach is to reduce waste, the only difference is how you go about achieving the goal.

Visual Control

Visual control is a process to help increase efficiency and effectiveness by making things visible. Several companies use visual control to make things easier or more effective by the use of visual signals. Quite often the signals come in the forms of kanban or heijunka boxes or colored clothing (if you are a team). For companies who have tried it, visual control makes things more effective by simply making things visible. It has been proven that when things are visible, they remain in our conscious minds. Visual control effectively communicates the information that is needed for decisions to be made.

The Kanban System
A kanban system uses visual aids to control the movement of materials between different work stations. The name kanban referred to a Japanese sign shop that used a visual image on a sign to communicate the type of products that were sold. The Toyota Production System implemented kanban into their transport container. It is a card that is attached to the transport and storage containers. The purpose of the kanban card is to identify part number and the container capacity. There is other information on the card as well that provides easy, visual, signals to the employees.

Implementation of Lean Manufacturing
Successful implementation will expose the quality problems which exist within the company and you will identify how to reduce the waste the problems are causing. For some companies, the focus on waste reduction only looks at one small problem at a time instead of a system-wide approach. Depending upon which type of managers you have, all the approaches can be successful and will reduce or eliminate waste.

Originally lean manufacturing was called "just in time". This changed to the term lean manufacturing and it is now called TPS. Many credit Toyota for having a human touch to their automation process. They are given this credit because their production machines have enough intelligence to recognize when they are working abnormally and they have a system that flags themselves for needing human attention. This means that humans only have to focus on the abnormal, fault, or conditions versus the normal production. It removes the day-to-day routine element that causes disinterest in many humans, therefore causing defects to occur.

Lean Training
There are several companies available who can train your entire company to implement lean manufacturing. Several companies offer online testing after the consultants have trained your staff members. Here are a few successful lean training companies to consider:

The ACA Group - This company specializes in helping companies who want to implement lean manufacturing but aren't sure where to begin. They help companies who have implemented lean manufacturing, but who are failing to keep it working successfully due to management or poor employee motivation. The ACA Group has a large team of consultants who offer complete courses on lean manufacturing. Your staff can take all the courses together to cover all the requirements of lean manufacturing or you can have them take the courses individually to learn a specific topic at a time. Here are the classes they offer:

  • 5S's. This is an 8 hour class that will help you determine what wastes need to be eliminated. You can also take this as a week long Kaizen course.

  • - Lean People / Lean People Assessment. This 24hour course describes how to create lean people in the workplace. It teaches 3 key requirements employees need in order to successfully implement lean manufacturing; experience, knowledge, and skill.

  • - Understanding Value from the Customer's Perspective. This is another 8 hour course that will help you and your staff identify what your customer's value and how you can increase the value you bring to your customers.

  • - Value Stream Mapping. This is another 8 hour course. It focuses on introducing the Value Stream Map, which is a key tool used in implementing lean manufacturing.

  • - Product Flow. This course focuses on improving the alignment of your business process. It discusses how partnerships, setup reduction, and cellular manufacturing impact your company.

  • - Kanban or Pull Production. This class focuses on visual controls that are used to trigger events in the company. Kanbans help to reduce workplace accidents, avoid mistakes, and balance the overall flow of the production process. Having effective Kanbans will increase your chances of having effective communication and will require less management involvement. This course last for about 16-24 hours.

  • - Perfection / Continuous Process Improvement. This is another 24 hour class that focuses on learning the most important principles needed to implement and follow-through with lean manufacturing. It teaches you tools that help you identify where waste exists in your company and provides you with ways to organize your company and eliminate waste.

  • - Kaizen / Teian. This class lasts for 24 hours and addresses how to improve employee performance. You can take your management to the next level of excellence and profitability by taking this course.

  • - Strategic Inventory Reduction. Inventory directly impacts the bottom line of your business. This course focuses on how you permanently reduce inventory without affecting your customer service.

Business Basics, LLC - This is an internet based lean manufacturing company. They have several different "packages" to choose from that will help you implement lean manufacturing into your company. You can choose from the following selections:

  • The Basics of Kaizen based lean manufacturing.

  • - The Basics of Supply Chain Management.

  • - The Basics of Performance Management

  • - Implementing Lean Six Sigma.

  • - The Basics of Strategic Planning and Tactical Execution.

Lean Manufacturing Guide - This Company provides your business with a complete lean manufacturing training program. They believe in fixing the inventory problems several companies have and they just don't know how to fix them. They also use the Six Sigma approach to determine where your company is now and where you are headed for the future. They also organize the way your company orders and produces products. They believe that your employees are one of the biggest factors in implementing a successful lean manufacturing program. They provide extensive one-on-one training and group training to help your employees become motivated to accept and help implement lean manufacturing.

In the end, it is up to management to motivate everyone at the company to implement and follow-through with lean manufacturing. The success of lean manufacturing lies with the people who practice it. By hiring one of the above companies, they can help you identify the problems within your company and learn how to eliminate or reduce the excess waste. If done properly, lean training is an easy, effective way to ensure the overall success and profitability of your company. No matter what method of lean manufacturing you choose to implement, be sure it is one that fits your company's needs. If you find that visual control is not working, try using the 5S approach or the complete Toyota Production Method. Each method of lean manufacturing has been tested and implemented with large and small companies. All the methods have been proven to work with the right amount of planning and proper management involvement. Take the time today to implement lean manufacturing and watch your company succeed.

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