What Is Lean Manufacturing? – Culture Change!

It sounds so simple. “Reduce waste.” I mean, isn’t that like throwing out the trash? Duh. On some level we all know that waste is something to be avoided, so when you tell someone that lean manufacturing, or lean in any workplace for that matter, is all about reducing and eliminating as much waste in the workplace as possible, it doesn’t sound that profound to anyone. After all, we don’t knowingly engage in wasteful practices, so whatever waste there is must be a very small percentage of what we do, right?

Do you focus on the “real issues” or petty stuff that neither makes nor breaks a business? Unless it is taking up costly time. Such as unusually often cleaning of the floors and other minor that are more for the employers personal satisfaction than productivity or the bottom line. These issues when required by skilled employees during peak productivity times is distracting.

So could it be that by not doing your best and saying that you were is a lie? We know how we hate liars! Just ask a recent ex US President! They say lying corrupts the soul; it sure has corrupted our business world. From poor quality products to ENRON scale corruption. Can we turn over a new leaf? Can we take pride in our activities? Youbetcha!

I’m not sure personally if Six Sigma is just another fad or not. What I do know is that many of the techniques in Six Sigma were started somewhere else. Someone was simply able to combine all different types of successful tools then throw them in with Six Sigma. Here’s a great example; the student t-test was created by a statistician for Guinness. Statistics are not sole property of Six Sigma neither is surveying customers. Since these tools came from somewhere else there is still room for improvement by adding new tools and taking out useless ones.

Increase selling time. The only time that is real “value added” is the time spent with the prospect or customer. The time getting an appointment, traveling to and from locations, completing paper work, and attending meetings is an incidental necessity, but not value added. Do all of these tasks outside of the high value added hours. Increasing value added selling time can be learned using material tubular lean and six sigma principles.

Now, you have another platform consideration option to factor into your ERP comparison. Cloud computing. There are more and more ERP vendors who are offering a hosted solution. But keep in mind that this may only be a hosted server, or it may be a true multi-tenant environment where upgrades are easily maintained. This will require little if any internal IT support so it could be a less expensive solution to support. It could also have a negative impact on IT moral since you would be taking responsibilities away from them. The key solution here is to make sure that IT is involved from the beginning of the ERP Comparison when it comes to platform discussions. Early decisions on the platform often determine potential vendor candidates.

All those skilled employees that you couldn’t find before are out there now. All that equipment that you couldn’t afford is inexpensive right now. All that time you didn’t have for training and implementing those new programs is at hand. The time for making excuses is over. What seems like a death knell to other companies can mean new life for yours. Look at this downturn as a long needed opportunity to improve operations, better your workforce and position yourself for growth. So if you have it, then spend that money and set yourself up for a prosperous future.