Ways to make lean work for you


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Lessons from the Lean Transformation of a Small Manufacturing Company

Lean is often considered as a strategy for large corporations, but in reality Lean is better suited for small businesses and even non-manufacturing operations. Here are 3 ways to make Lean work for you regardless of your size or industry.
Vivek Naik

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Ways to make lean work for you

  1. 1. Ways to Make Lean Work for You L e s s o n s L e a r n e d T r a n s f o r m in g a Small Manufacturing Company Vivek E. Naik 2012 International Conference on LEAN & SIX SIGMA
  2. 2. A Story of a Small Company“We will lose one of our largest customer if we dont ship this order on time” SAID THE BUSINESS OWNER
  3. 3. The Problem Most of the customers were upset about the 20+ day long lead time. Loosing this customer could mean a significant loss for the company
  4. 4. Current State On That Day This company is a small Manufacturing company Business had grown from small start to full-fledged manufacturing operations The initial growth was handled by addition of more and more unskilled labor They expedited orders when customers screamed for it
  5. 5. Did They try to improve the processes? They just did not have time for it Often everyone was diverted to expedite one order Same thing happened that day They tried to get this one order out within 3 days
  6. 6. But Something was different this time? Stakes were high They could not afford to lose this customer It made them wonder “Do we really dont have time to change the way we operate”
  7. 7. The Result They realized there was no option but to change in order to survive and grow This was their “Burning Platform”
  8. 8. Chaotic shop floorPeople were unaware ofthe Standard ProcessWithout Standardprocess it wasimpossible to get anyCycle TimesNo proper location forparts Our Platform is Burning but WhereAll this lead to lotwaste do We Go?
  9. 9. No Access to Needed Information There was no data about production, Open orders, Quality, delivery Production was not able to know:  How many and what orders are open?  Which orders are overdue?  What needed to be shipped that day?  Without this stake in the sand we were not sure where to go
  10. 10. So what was the answer? “Lean” Someone suggested that Principles of Lean Manufacturing will provide the solution
  11. 11. So isn’t Lean only for big guys? They believed that lean could not be applied in their case But, in reality, Lean is better suited for smaller business and not necessarily manufacturing operations
  12. 12. Why Small isGood? “It is easier to change the course of a boat than to move an iceberg” – Anonymous
  13. 13. Why Small is Good? Bigger organizations have too much inertia even though they may have more resources at their disposal A smaller organization, on the other hand, is much more flexible and responsive to change Small organizations have few levels of management This helps to avoid problems of miscommunication because the head and the tail are not very far away
  14. 14. Constraints of the Small Company Small organization cannot spend millions or stop everything to start a formal program, but……. “Is that Lean in true essence?”
  15. 15. What is Lean in True Essence? Lean has to start organically within the organization You don’t need experts to start lean though it may be helpful You can learn lean principles by systematic and religious application of common sense Everyone has to go through the journey to practice, Learn and apply lean in a way that is suitable to their unique process
  16. 16. What did they do? They did not stop the lines to hold the events. They just did improvements when the lines were down due to broken machine or delay in getting parts They started small and thought big, from just one workstation to entire shop floor They trained our people to solve their own problems
  17. 17. Their Achievement They have tremendously improved their delivery from 20+ days to 97%+ of the orders shipping within 3 days This is story which many people can relate to especially if you are in small manufacturing company Success may vary from place to place We will explore the reason why and how to get started using some of the lessons I learned working for small company
  18. 18. Lessons Learned Along the Way HOW CAN YOU MAKE LEAN WORK FOR YOU?
  19. 19. You Dont Need To Solve AllProblems To Be Successful LESSON 1
  20. 20. The Assumptions We need a roadmap to apply lean with every detail planned out from beginning to the end We have to solve each and every problem that is out there The thought of solving so many problems at once is over whelming and stops many before they even start
  21. 21. Breaking the problemsdown and tackling onlythe importantproblems is necessary(80/20)Don’t try to solveeverybody’s problemyourselfOnly Few need creativeskill to solveThere is a big chunk ofproblems at the bottom All Problems are Not the Sameof the pyramid
  22. 22. How do You Solve Such a Big Chunk of Problems at the Bottom of the Pyramid? Train and empower all your people to solve their own problems When you allow the people who run the process to also do the improvements, they own the change This is helpful in sustaining the change Also the synergistic effect of everyone solving the problems gives a tremendous momentum to your change process
  23. 23. What to RememberOnly few important problems need to be tackled to makea big impact. If you tackle the top 20% of issues, it willhelp you achieve 80% of the solution.Problems are like a pyramid – there’s a huge base ofsimple problems which can be easily resolved and smallset complicated problem which needs creative problemsolving skills.
  24. 24. Start By "Cleaning House" And Standardizing Processes LESSON 2
  25. 25. Clean Work Place Is Efficient and Safe Having a place for everything, and getting rid of unnecessary tools and parts, makes it easy to find the necessary tools and parts This helps you to work more efficiently Another advantage is that you immediately know if anything is missing from its place
  26. 26. 5S The word 5S stands for Sort, Straighten, Sweep, Standardize and Sustain 5S could be a good starting point of any lean transformation and forms a catalyst for a culture of change Due to the very visible results it makes the process of buy-in easy for both the shop floor personnel and management
  27. 27. Do what you preachLearn the process beforeteaching othersFor everyone theirworkspace is special andmost would not like tochange itIt is humbling to realizehow difficult it is to bechanged than to changeothers Start with your own personal workplace
  28. 28. Choosing the rightpeople guaranteessuccess and creating theright first impressionThis initial team willhelp in promoting andspreading the thingslearnedDon’t make it a projectAllow things to be doneduring routine timeDo it in steps to allowpeople to getcomfortable and stablein their new Choose the team of people who areenvironment beforemoving to next step most supportive to the change
  29. 29. What to RememberSome of the key points of how 5S helps in laying down thefoundation of Lean Transformation are: •Standardization of process provides a stable base for incremental improvement •Visible results helps boost morale of the people who then take pride working in the area •It is an enabler of “Continuous Improvement” culture •Prepares the workplace and people for implementing other Lean tools
  30. 30. Motivation Gets You StartedBut Habit Keeps You Going LESSON 3
  31. 31. Why Sustaining Lean is Difficult? Lean transformation works beautifully in the beginning but many fail in sustaining the efforts This is not the fault of the people involved but the way traditional management works
  32. 32. Why Traditional Management Fail Traditional management is results driven It is mostly concerned with the end result and not the means to get there This leads malpractices like expediting orders, over production, and excess inventory
  33. 33. Lean Management Only by support and proper leadership/guidance you can drive your people to continuously improve the processes that add value to the customer. The management system that helps you to achieve this is a Lean Management system. Lean Management system uses various tools to connect the purpose (Providing value to customer) to the process and people.
  34. 34. Lean ManagementElements of Lean Management: Leader Standard Work  Leader Standard Work sustains the systems and integrates the changes made during the transformation process Daily Accountability Visual Controls  Visual Control and Daily Accountability helps keep the process and people aligned to solve problems as they arise Discipline  Discipline of the leader ensures that standard work is followed and the whole system works coherently From: “Creating Lean Culture” by David Mann
  35. 35. What to RememberThe elements of lean management, helps the leader to beaccountable to the process by religiously following the“leader standard work” and discipline to the point theybecome a habit.This change in habits is essential for mental transformationrequired in a lean manager
  37. 37. Continuous Learning Continuous learning is essential for continuous improvement To learn we need to experiment We need to accept failures in our trials as means to learn something new Raise the bar with every improvement. What was acceptable yesterday may be the focus for improvement today and tomorrow may need further work again.It cannot be “Continuous Improvement” if we stop doing it!
  38. 38. By three methods we may learn wisdom:Wisdom First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” – Confucius Reflecting and knowing why is critical Copying is easy but you cannot learn unless you try it yourself may be fail many times before you get it right
  39. 39. The Endhttp://twitter.com/viveknaik Follow my Journey atMy Lean Transformation Blog http://viveknaik.net viveknaik@viveknaik.net