Companies are always searching for a more efficient way to run their business. Cost-cutting is the most popular way of doing getting ahead of the competition. This ideal management setting can be achieved by practicing the lean manufacturing principles.
Lean manufacturing is the management philosophy of no waste. The focus is on reducing the seven wastes in the manufacturing business or any other type of business. The seven wastes are over-production, transportation, processing, waiting time, motion, inventory, and scarp.
The lean manufacturing principles serve as the outline and guide for any company wanting to get the best out of their organization. The lean manufacturing principles are taken as the outline for making a more productive work environment, whether it is in a warehouse, factory, or office.
The first of the lean manufacturing principles is the perfect first-time quality. This is a quest for having zero defects by revealing and solving the problems right at the source. By cutting all the wasted time during quality inspection at the end of the production process, efficiency is reached.
How does one achieve perfect first-time quality? By taking care of the problems at the source. Usually, after a thorough examination of how the usual production process is undertaken, the holes or inefficiencies of the process are exposed. After that, steps are taken to solve these holes immediately.
The end result of following the first of these lean manufacturing principles is that it reduces the time spent checking for product defects or organization faults because all the problems are addressed even before they can become a major problem for the company.
Get rid of waste
The second of the lean manufacturing principles is waste minimization. This preaches to eliminate all those activities or departments that do not add significant value and safety nets for the company. This means the resources of the company (people, capital, and land) are put to better use.
Although this entails cutting off some workers, the option of reassigning them to departments where their talents can be utilized remains open. Often times, corporations, to justify mass lay-offs of their workers, use this second of the lean manufacturing principles. In reality, waste minimization is more effective when used within the corporate hierarchy.
The never-ending pursuit of the best
The third of the lean manufacturing principles is continuous improvement. As the title suggests, this principle focuses on continuous ways to improve the company. Finding the best way to do a task, reduce cost, and improving product or work quality are examples of following this principle. At this point, any suggestions for improvement should be examined and, if proven to make the system more efficient, should be implemented at once. Information and tested knowledge govern the lean manufacturing principles.
Flex your muscles
The fourth of the lean manufacturing principles is flexibility. This requires foresight from management and a keen sense of the market trend. Flexibility means producing a mix of diversity of products quickly without sacrificing quality, even at low volumes of productions.
How can these lean manufacturing principles be followed? By having a sound business plan at the start of the year and closely monitoring the market. The business plan should be flexible enough to adjust for any increase in volume or to make a new product in a short time. Expecting the unexpected and handling it with grace can sum up these lean manufacturing principles.
Pull not push
Pull processing is the fifth of the lean manufacturing principles. Simply put, pull processing means that the products are pulled from the consumer end, not pushed from the production end.
It’s all about relationships
The last of the lean manufacturing principles dictate the importance of building and maintaining a good, long-term relationship with the company’s suppliers/partners through different management tactics like collaborative risk sharing, information sharing arrangements, and cost-sharing.
By doing so, your company and theirs will grow together. As odd as this last of the lean manufacturing principles sound, it is by working with these people that your organization will achieve greater efficiency, and the possibility of more job opportunities with your suppliers or partners is heightened.
Following these lean manufacturing principles does not necessarily mean a leaner, more productive organization. Just as having the map is important, so is the execution of the lean manufacturing principles. The creation of a sound plan and firm implementation that can make or break the effectiveness of these lean manufacturing principles.