10 Steps To Lean Manufacturing

Experts recommend a disciplined series of steps be taken on the road to lean manufacturing. -- Sidebar to: Never Too Lean

Beth Bacheldor, Contributor

April 16, 2004

1 Min Read

1. Study and understand lean principles, their pros and cons

2. Glean best practices from other practitioners

3. Hire employees or consultants with a lean manufacturing track record

4. Map and review your current manufacturing operations to identify excesses and inefficiencies

5. Start small, with a single step or process and hold a "Kaizen" " or continuous improvement " event so employees can find and test lean techniques.

6. Involve all factory floor employees, as well as procurement, management and administrative staff. Expect resistance and the need for training.

7. Continue to hold Kaizen events regularly. Require employees to always look for ways to improve their own and other job functions.

8. IT systems should mirror the real-time communication and flows a lean manufacturing environment requires -- batch-and-queue systems aren't typically a fit.

9. Once up and running, look to extend the initiative beyond your factory floor to other parts of the business and to your suppliers' and customers' operations.

10. Recognize lean manufacturing implementations take time, are evolutionary, and are never finished.

Return to the story: Never Too Lean

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