Thursday, August 2, 2012

Lean Manufacturing Innovation Award Winner

Here is an article I just put together on the Lean Mfg Online website. It is about what they are doing in Europe to recognize companies that are using innovation to create growth and jobs.

Lean Manufacturing Innovation Award Winner

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Lean Office Reduces Processing Time By 50%

Have you heard about the Lean Office concept? What if I told you that by implementing lean principles in your office areas, it's possible to reduce your administrative processing time by 50%. Would you believe me? Maybe, maybe not, right?

What if you were presented with data clearly demonstrating that a company had actually achieved this goal by using lean principles to restructure and develop lean office procedures. Yes, that's right, their lean office reduces processing time by 50%!

So, did I perk your interest? I would like to share a great article that I found on the WMEP website. It explains how a small family-owned company called Dalco Metals, in Walworth, Wisconsin used some basic lean tools to achieve these amazing results.

Lean Office Reduces Processing Time By 50%

Lean Office 
Since 1973, family owned Dalco Metals of Walworth has been a premier supplier of flat-rolled steel-processing services to manufacturers throughout the Midwest. John Ring, executive vice president of Dalco, credits this long-term success to the company’s focus on the customer’s needs, close relationships with suppliers, and constant attention to quality in every manufacturing and business process. 
“About eight years ago, it seemed that everything pointed toward adopting lean manufacturing methods: a customer recommended we look into lean manufacturing, a classmate in my MBA program recommended 5S (a lean method), and I attended the Manufacturing. Matters! conference and participated in a Lean workshop presented by WMEP. 
5S is not a static tool – Dalco Metals continually works at sustaining the changes they’ve made and to continually find new ways to make the process better, cleaner, faster and less expensive. “Dalco Metals is a great example of what it takes to generate the benefits of Lean manufacturing over the long-term,” said Thiltgen. “Many companies start lean programs, but lack the stamina and commitment it takes to fully realize the benefits gained when Lean is a way of life. Dalco Metals has tremendous executive support of Lean – it’s a part of everyone’s job.” 
Chuck Ferguson, inside sales and applications manager, agrees. “The ‘sustain’ part of the program is the toughest part. We are trying to ingrain the 5S mentality in everyone’s minds here at Dalco and I think it is working. As long as we have the support of the management, Dalco will continue to operate at peak efficiency.” 
Ferguson implemented the following steps to ensure that the company remains focused on 5S...[read more in the original article]
I have been involved in the Continuous Process Improvement field for nearly 30 years and I have to say that I still get stoked when I read article like this. Why is this? Well, its because small to medium sized businesses are the backbone of the US economy and it is exciting to see them leading the way when it comes to improving productivity. Contrary to popular belief, it is not using lean principles to improve efficiency and effectiveness that forces companies to close their doors and causes people to lose their jobs. So what does it? 

It is poor management structures and decision making that creates inefficiency and increase the amount of waste in the system that leads to rising costs that is the root-cause of it. So, if you want to create a right culture that is capable of developing a successful lean implementation, you need to start with the management team first. Then you will be able to write your own article with the same heading as this one - Lean Office Reduces Processing Time By 50%!

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If you enjoyed this article: Lean Office Reduces Processing Time By 50%!

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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

How to Implement Lean Manufacturing Principles?

The number one question that I see coming up time and time again is: How to implement lean manufacturing? As many executive management teams and business owners are being forced by the economy to step back and take a look at their operations to see how they can improve their processes, reduce costs and improve value for their customers.

The problem arises when companies are coming from the position of not knowing anything about how to implement lean  manufacturing principles into their business practices. Many will take a "do it yourself" approach, while others will drive organizational change at a fanatical pace and at any cost. While both of these management approaches are commendable for their effort to move their organizations forward, it is a typical example of the polar opposites or extremes at both ends of the lean manufacturing implementation spectrum. It seems to suggest that implementing lean manufacturing principles into your company falls into either of these two categories, "do it yourself" or "get somebody to do it for you." Neither of these approaches are the best for achieving sustainable long term improvement.

So, what is a good example of the typical and best methodology when it comes to implementing lean manufacturing principles? Here is a great article written by Kim Do-won in the Korea Times News. Kim Do-won is a partner and managing director of Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

How to Implement Lean Manufacturing Principles?

Companies typically progress through three maturity levels as they improve performance, build expertise, and enjoy the resulting benefits.
At the first level, companies should learn the basics. Entry-level lean practitioners are primarily seeking to eliminate waste in production. Their objectives typically include efficiency gains, cost reductions, improved quality, shorter lead times, and greater flexibility. Companies at this level understand the key lean tools and apply them at local factories but not consistently across the plant network. Through quick wins, they can typically achieve cost savings of 5 to 10 percent, for an immediate impact on the bottom line. Sustaining improvements over time and applying consistent standards across the network are the key challenges that companies must address in order to progress to the next level.
Implementing a lean production system is second level. Companies at this stage are among the top players in their industry. They are moving toward an integrated lean-production system that involves the whole manufacturing network. As a result, they can reduce value-adding costs (that is, all manufacturing costs except for raw materials and other inputs) by 10 to 15 percent, while cutting waste virtually to zero.
Companies at level three have a complete view of their non-value-adding costs. They have devised and implemented advanced techniques such as product segmentation and production & inventory strategy, as well as disciplined sales and operations planning (S&OP).
The optimal production processes have been identified and leveraged using advanced tools such as bill of process (BOP). Most plants and overall equipment efficiency (OEE) levels meet global best-in-class standards. Manufacturing is a key contributor to funding growth.
Moving from one level of lean to the next can be difficult. However, organizations at all levels can create significant value by a continued focus on lean. Recently, we’ve observed that many companies trying to get beyond level one or two have begun implementing shorter, more targeted and effective lean programs. And many at level three are deploying a broader range of advanced techniques...
Read the original article.
This article reflects my own thinking and expereinces over the years when I have pondered the questions I receive about how to implement lean manufacturing principles into any business. There are only two ways for implementing lean principles and these are the "right way" and the "wrong way." There is no in between state, you are either working to become a Lean Enterprise or you are not! Anything else is denial or a way to avoid the facts because over 90% of the companies that will start their lean implementation process today, will fail within two years. How do you stop this happening to your company? You follow a tried and tested methodology for implementing lean manufacturing principles into any organization.

It is called "10 Steps to become a Lean Enterprise" training and implementation model. It can take an individual, a group or an organization through the required steps to develop a culture that is able to integrate and support continuous process improvement. It demonstrates how a management team can use their valuable resources to achieve fast and beneficial results.

If you enjoyed reading this article: How to Implement Lean Manufacturing Principles?


You will enjoy reading this one too: What is Lean Production Success?

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