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What makes lean manufacturing so different?

cabels19018341.jpgLean manufacturing combines a new way of thinking with a new process of manufacturing.In many cases the innovations that you will employ as part of a lean manufacturing implementation will be simple and logical.Lean manufacturing is all about thinking outside of the box and coming up with solutions that may not have been used before.Lean manufacturing is different from so many other manufacturing mentalities because of how it is implemented.The most difficult part of the entire lean manufacturing process is the implementation.There is no right or wrong way to implement lean practices, only general guidelines.The other factor that makes lean manufacturing so different is that you are continually implementing new ideas.There is no one place that you are trying to get to.Instead, your goal is to continually improve and look for opportunities to change the way that your business operates so that you can continue to evolve.

For those willing to challenge their former methods of thinking, the lean manufacturing environment holds far more than the simple elimination of waste.Lean manufacturing can also be the key to a happier workplace, excited employees and company loyalty that you never thought possible.

Lean manufacturing is different from other organizations because of the emphasis that is put on the importance of individual contributions.Everyone's opinions matter regardless of their position.Creating a lean manufacturing environment is all about allowing workers to perform up to their potential.Everyone from senior managers to production line employees has their own areas of expertise and is therefore an authority over whatever their step is in the production process.The workers who are at the front lines of production know more about their specific responsibilities than anyone else in the company.They should be allowed to have a say in what can be done to improve their own job and how their contribution can benefit the entire company.By taking advantage of this specialized knowledge, each employee can have the opportunity to perfect his or her own role in the process.Employee job satisfaction is increased because employees feel empowered to be able to make a difference in for themselves.

Lean manufacturing is not a process of commanding and controlling.Rather it is a process of a philosophy that is applicable to every employee of the organization from the bottom to the top of the chain of command.This concept can be difficult for some managers to grasp especially if the chain of command is strictly enforced.

Implementing all of these changes requires a good deal of willingness to do things that are new, different, and challenging.Although all businesses should be (and most are) driven by the consumers, the lean manufacturer takes this to the next level by implementing customer driven applications to a lean manufacturing environment include Kanban control methods, Just-In-Time implementation and pull production processes.Although this concept of choosing a more customer driven production method is not a new idea, it could be a challenge for certain companies who have had a mentality towards mass production.

The last think that makes lean manufacturing so different is its process of identifying wastes.Some wastes are easier to see than others.Wastes in the form of defective materials and excess inventory are easy enough to identify, but eliminating wastes in the form of wasted time or wasted movement can take a great deal of time to identify and fully eliminate.

An important element of making the change to lean manufacturing, and another aspect of this business mentality that sets it apart from the others, is that you must make sure that your lean manufacturing environment is sustainable.This means that you not only need to implement changes but also put into play a method for allowing your system to run and operate without constant supervision.Each individual should know their role at the company and should be able to see how their role in the lean process is part of their job description.

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