How to justify lean manufacturing to your staff

Whether you’ve had formal training in lean manufacturing or you’ve just heard of its benefits through the grapevine, you may decide it’s time to tell your staff about all the advantages that lean provides. But, you may also be wondering where to start when you approach the subject. After all, not everyone has heard of lean, and not everyone is aware of all the benefits it offers. Initially, some staff members may be skeptical, but C Tek Lean Solutions has some tips to help you sell your coworkers on adopting lean manufacturing principles.


Defining Lean Manufacturing

Before anyone in your workplace agrees to sign up for a lean manufacturing model, they’ll want to know what they are getting into. If you don’t know where to begin, a simple definition of lean is a good start. You can tell your staff that lean is ultimately a way to make the manufacturing and production process in your company more efficient. This is accomplished by identifying and eliminating areas of waste. The ultimate goal is to improve value and eliminate processes that do not contribute to adding value.


Defining Value

The term “value” is used a lot in the context of lean manufacturing. But what is value, and what does it mean for you and your customers? The term “value,” as applied to lean production principles, refers to an action or service that customers are willing to pay for. While your staff may have some idea of the products or services you offer that provide value, your customers ultimately have the final say in what constitutes a valuable product or service.


Eliminate Waste

While you want to add value in lean, you want to eliminate waste as much as possible. Waste is considered any part in the production cycle that does not add value. Waste can occur in any part of the production process ranging from the assembly line to the final product. Once you have determined the value-oriented aspects of your business operations, you can look at the parts of your production cycle that produce waste and work to eliminate them.

To make identifying waste easier, lean thinkers have three categories of waste to consider. They are called muda, mura, and muri. Muda is a type of waste that does not add value to your production process. Mura refers to waste caused by unevenness or interruptions in operations. Lastly, muri describes waste that arises from unreasonable conditions. A good example of this is a worker who is overburned or a machine that is forced to work beyond its regular capacity.


Create Order and Organization

Once you’ve identified waste, it’s time to clean up the workplace. Organizing the production floor will make it easier for people to reach machinery and other departments. There will be less clutter and fewer hazards on the floor too, which creates a more presentable environment for staff and visitors.


Set Standards and Processes

After organizing and removing waste, it’s time to set formal standards and processes in place so that lean production will continue and your company will reap all the benefits.

For more tips and recommendations on introducing lean manufacturing principles to your employees, don’t hesitate to contact C Tek Lean Solutions for advice.