Understanding The Value Of the Lean Process In A Business’ Success

August 25, 2011 by  Filed under: Management 

As the name implies, the lean process is a course of action, or a procedure. Therefore, we need to appreciate that it is a series of events which need to be properly carried out, one after the other, so as to achieve satisfactory results. The first step is to delineate a set of plans which will make up the company’s production plan. This will also include capacity planning.

It is crucial to appreciate that in order to reduce excess waste, the production plan has to be well planned out and scheduled. There are various types of waste which a lean process mechanism attempts to eliminate, or at least reduce as much as possible. These include excess transport, work in process left unattended, inventory waste, overproduction and defective output. There must be just the right amount of resources appropriated for each production phase.

Another very common type of waste that a lean process system tries to eradicate is motion or waiting. This involves the waste of time while employees are moving around to get raw materials, or equipment not properly placed, or else, instances where an employee is wasting time waiting to pass onto the next production step. These examples, if repeated over and over again, will amount to a lot of waste. There must be just the right amount of resources appropriated for each production phase.

A lean process tries to avoid this. This is done by carefully measuring various aspects. This will include measuring the optimum amount of time involved in completing a particular task or production phase. Time studies are a common method used in Lean Six Sigma. Inventory turns are also recorded. Such measurements are explained to the employees and their importance is made clear, so as to try and ensure that they will do their best to comply with them as guidelines in their work.

The next step is to analyze the way production is carried on after the lean procedure, and whether the measurements are being adhered to effectively or not. On the basis of such an analysis, it is important to study whether there are any areas where improvement is possible. Line balancing, work cells and improved time and motion studies are some of the methods which are used to accomplish this.

The final step in the process is control. It is crucial to properly organize, manage and control the production methods, in the hope to achieve efficient results. Visual control is commonly used on factory floors. However this is not enough in some cases.

It is important that regular meetings and briefings are carried out to make sure that employees understand that the Lean Six Sigma Process is not an authoritarian procedure, but a way to improve the business’ performance. This will ultimately benefit them. In fact, many businesses place a lot of importance on these processes and introduce measures which encourage employees to do their best, such as bonuses.

Aveta Solutions – Six Sigma Online ( http://www.sixsigmaonline.org ) offers online six sigma training and certification classes for lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.

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