Information & Training. | Lean Manufacturing. Just In Time Processing.
What is Lean Manufacturing.
Creating the Vision for an efficient Lean Manufacturing Process.An organization needs to develop a vision of where the “lean” journey will bring the organization. What will be the benefits to customers, to employees, the community, shareholders, etc..? How will the organization relate to peer and competitor organizations, etc..? This vision will drive organizational strategy and long term decision making. Such a vision should create a sense of excitement for the potential of the organization among all the stakeholders. The vision will create a picture in the minds of stakeholders of the true potential of the organization, will allow staff to feel a sense of purpose and pride in their daily talks as they have an opportunity to contribute towards achieving the vision.
Understanding the extent of the task in achieving the Vision.With a vision defined, the next step is to understand where the organization resides versus the desired vision. The result of this step will be to allow an understanding of where gaps exist between current status and desired vision. This step may require the vision to be explained in hard terms, for example, anticipated customer satisfaction levels, expected product development lead times, etc.. Alternatively the current situation may be broadly defined as per the terminology applied in defining the desired vision.
Lean Manufacturing – The Implementation Plan.A plan will need to be developed to progress the organization from current status, towards the vision. Senior management will need to identify the key areas of priority, the resource allocations, the roles and responsibilities of key leaders tasked with striving towards the vision, the methods of communication, the program for training and education, etc..
Blue Sky Vision.There will be two aspects to “creating the vision” for the organization. First, the ideal should be considered. In the perfect world, how would the organization perform? How would it be structured? What would be the relationship with customers? The perfect vision, is often titled a “blue sky vision”, where there are no real constraints on organizational performance. The objective of developing a blue sky vision, is to help create discussions on what could be possible. Without commencing a blue sky discussion, there is a danger that those tasked with driving organizational improvement, will be constrained by current resource limits and will not be able to see past such constraints, thereby limiting the scope of potential improvement.
With the blue sky vision drafted, then the discussions on developing the organizational vision, will progress onto a realistic vision for the organization. Developing a realistic vision, based on the blue sky vision, will force those tasked with driving organizational improvement to drop desired but unachievable blue sky goals with a consequent sense of loss and disappointment, verses developing the realistic vision out of current performance, which may result in very limited improvement objectives. Reducing expectations from the blue sky vision, which creates emotions of loss and disappointment is a key factor is creating stretching yet realistic improvement targets which are bought into by those building the end vision.
When the vision is developed and broadly agreed, the communication process with the wider organization will commence. In the initial stages, the vision may be communicated in a broad sense, with feedback sought. The feedback will help further shape the vision and start to build broad organizational buy-in.
Understanding the extent of the task in achieving the vision.The organization will need to understand the potential resource demands and timelines in achieving the vision. Will the resource demands be excessive? Has the organization the capability, the capacity and management commitment to provide the necessary resources? Are the timeline estimates in achieving the vision acceptable?
This stage may involve a range of approaches to understanding the current status, such as gathering data, making reference to historical experience, the application of bottleneck analysis, statistical analysis, reviews and interviews with staff & customers, benchmarking, financial analysis, cost benefit analysis, etc..
During this process the vision may continue to evolve. As the understanding of the reasons behind current performance are explored, analyzed and understood, the realistic capabilities of the organization to achieve the desired vision may need to be revised. These revisions may be to lessen or stretch the level of performance necessary in delivering the vision.
Lean Manufacturing Implementation.Ideas will be sought on the optimum implementation approach to achieving the vision. Teams will be established and tasked with identifying potential paths to improvement. Brainstorming activities will be implemented. Continuous and breakthrough approaches to achieving the vision will be considered. The impacts, resource demands and potential risks will all need to be considered when proposing paths towards vision achievement. Fact based analytical techniques need to be applied, in addition to seeking opinions and experiences of staff and customers.
In this ideas generation process, cross functional teams will be key to success. Process and plant experts will be challenged to identify what needs to change to achieve the desired objectives.
Across the organization activities will be examined. Can the activity be eliminated? Can the activity be done in parallel? Can the activity be done faster? Etc..
The responses to such questions will result in multiple ideas to achieve objectives.
Ideas will be classified according to:
The potential benefit or size of opportunity.
The probability of success (High, Medium, Low)
The time to realize such benefit
The ideas can then be graphed to create a picture of “potential opportunity”.Following ideas generation & classification, further team meetings will take place to present and discuss findings. Support from outside the team may be required (e.g. Regulatory Affairs) to give support on aspects such as change control requirements and timelines to achieve proposed ideas. Sub-teams breakout meetings may be required to validate, improve and fine tune initial ideas. The proposed ideas are then converted to realizable and defined targets and objectives. Further team meetings will take place to finalize the outcome of the implementation plan development phase.
Objectives of Implementation Planning:
To plan implementation of the Lean project.
To schedule each of the individual projects.
Estimate resources for implementation and ensure they are available.
Start the quick win projects from the Ideas Generation.
Ensure effective communication and reporting processes are in place.
Define change control processes.
Etc..The implementation plan will define the structure of project/task implementation. There may be a steering team overseeing the entire project, then individual project managers, project teams, planning teams, implementation teams. The teams will have clear objectives, team leaders and team members selected on the basis of capability and ability to contribute to achieving the defined objectives.
“Lean Manufacturing” & “Just-In-Time Processing”.
The tools and techniques of Lean & JIT:
– Basic working practices
– Total Productive Maintenance
– Design for manufacture
– Set-up reduction
– Operations focus
– Total staff involvement
– Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)
– Visual management
– Flow layout
– Just-In-Time Supply
– Pull scheduling & Push systems of control
– Kanban control
– 5S method of control
– Levelled scheduling
– Etc. Etc..