A magic word in lean manufacturing – Trust

It is amazing that how small mental changes can do immense good for us. This is true for the individuals. Many people though, do not understand the importance of obeying the basics of the life in organizations.

One of these basics rules of life is trust. People have to trust themselves and will have to trust others. Person who does not trust himself will not succeed. This is true even for an organization. If your organization is not sure what it is doing, or if it does not believe in what it does, customers will not trust your organization for sure. Think for a moment. As an organization do you trust your workers? Think how many checking points you have in your organization. This will give you a clear indication regarding the trust you have in your workers.

More checking means, your organization does not have trust in its employees. Think how many man hours lost in this process. Take a simple example. When producing a product, worker who is making the part will do the checking. Then in the next process, it will be examined for its quality again before that process. This will happen in every workstation. On top of this, there will be quality checkers. Also there will be an accepted quality level checking (I am thinking for a while now to understand what is the unaccepted quality level J). Think how many hours lost in checking. Obviously this will be more than the time used in actual productive work.

How many times somebody have found something wrong in the work from the previous workstation. It is very rare isn’t it? Then why people do all these checking. It is a culture of not trusting.

Lean manufacturing is based on simple facts of life. It promotes the culture of trust within the organization. But, remember nothing will happen automatically. This has to be built in to the culture. Trust will come with the team working, inbuilt quality movements and disciplined culture.

Trust can save you money. It will motivate people. Trust will improve your quality. As usual lean manufacturing concepts are simple and much closer to the nature. Trust is something nature loves.

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Quality – A lean manufacturer’s view

I have been thinking about the cost of the quality for some time now. I read some very interesting articles and studied some theories. I was particularly interested about the cost of quality explanation with the cost of prevention and cost of failure. According to this theory there is a cost component attached with prevention of defects and there is a cost component attached with the quality defects. With the achieved (Or accepted) quality level these components vary. Higher the quality expected, higher the cost for prevention. In this case cost of defects will be lower. Other way around is also same. The cost effective operation point is in between these two points. You will have to find this point such that, you achieve the best quality with the lowest cost. This cost will have components, cost of failure and cost of prevention. This seems to be very logical way to operate in today’s quality conscious world, with the lowest costs.

But being a lean thinker, I thought why there should be a cost for the quality anyway? It is cheaper to produce high quality products than low quality ones. Let me explain this. Think for a moment. In the theory given above, there will be no cost for prevention if the system didn’t have costs of failure. In simple terms we need to prevent the quality defects because they are happening in the system. If we do not have failures in quality, then there is no need to prevent quality defects. That is if we can remove the cost of quality defects from the system, we will be able to automatically remove the prevention costs from the system. We can not remove one cost component from the system because they are interrelated. If a manufacturer has a system proven to produce high quality item, then he has no cost of defects. That is he will not have a cost of prevention. So he has no cost of quality.

Remember I am talking about a manufacturer who produces high quality products. I am not talking about a manufacturer who produces average products and then do the sorting. The quality should be inbuilt. Quality can not be imposed from outside control.

Lean manufacturing implementation process

Implementation of lean manufacturing is a step by step process. It should be well planned and well designed to suit the requirement of the organization. It is very important to understand the principles and concepts of lean manufacturing even before thinking about implementation. Not only the core teams, but also all the people in the organization must be well educated on lean manufacturing.

When you are well prepared implementation is a four step process. First we have to understand the fact that there are wastes to be removed. Then these wastes must be categorized and ranked according to the urgency of removal from the system. In this step we have to understand the root causes which cause these wastes. After understanding the root causes, they must be removed from the system. Finally after removing your root causes it is very important to analyze your result with the targets you set. If you are satisfied move to the next priority. Redo the circle again and again continuously.

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