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But interestingly lean manufacturing has achieved significant recognition both in terms of usage and satisfaction. Lean operations show a comparatively lower value in terms of usage globally but higher satisfaction rates. North America seems to be leading in lean manufacturing in terms of usage, Latin Americans seems to be not using lean manufacturing much but interestingly they have achieved highest satisfaction rates. Asia and Europe are using lean in their organizations somewhat equally. In Asia Chinese are not using lean as much as other Asia Pacific countries does. Larger companies are using lean manufacturing most and they have achieved higher satisfaction rates than the rest of the bunch.
On the other hand Six Sigma has lost it ground. Six Sigma has is down both in usage and satisfaction levels when compared with lean operations.
Total quality management has a wider usage and higher satisfaction levels in the global scenario. TQM has outscored both lean manufacturing and six sigma in terms of usage and satisfaction levels. North America shows very low usage of TQM compared to the rest of the world. Asia Pacific region have used TQM heavily and interestingly have reported lower satisfaction than the rest in the bunch.
In total for me the trends seems to be varied according to the region. While North America seems to be moving towards lean manufacturing, Asia Pacific seems to be using TQM and six sigma in their organizations. Latin America has very lower usage of lean manufacturing and yet has reported very high satisfaction levels. Based on this information Latin American countries can be expected to move towards lean manufacturing in the future.
This report is a great way to understand the trends in the glob. To find this report do a simple Google search with “Management Tools and Trends 2007”
Reference: Management Tools and Trends 2007 By Bain and Company
Working from home always reduces the requirement for expensive infrastructure, work space and transportation costs. It will add a good hour or two for each worker since there is no need to travel daily. Flexibility of working and comfort and warmth of home are invaluable for anyone. So it seems working from home is a better idea for both the organization and workers.
On the other hand working from home, if not coordinated properly can lead to duplication and incompatibilities. Both these are wastes in lean. This method of working can kill the synergy of the teams. Again teams are very important ingredient of lean manufacturing. So coordination and management of work becomes very important.
Every industry might not be able to work in this model. But in every organization there are some functionalities which can be operated in this model. I feel if coordinated and managed properly, working from home model of operation can be beneficial for both to the organization and to the worker. As a lean thinker I would love to explore the potential of this model. But are the employers confident and adventures enough to explore the potential of this model? As a worker are you prepared to work from your home? Certainly I am.
The real problem is in hiding the waste. If the workers at every level, if they are not educated on the importance of lean manufacturing and if lean is used as a tool of penalizing the people who contribute to waste, then people will take the simpler root. They will simply hide the problem. This will be facilitated with messy workplaces where they will find the room to hide the waste, inefficient pull manufacturing systems etc. There might be principles like visual factory, single piece flow in practice. Although it is true infrastructure and setup will play a part in executing all these plans, if people do not play their part it is useless to have them in place.
People are at the heart of lean manufacturing. They must understand the importance of lean movement. Importantly they must be confident and comfortable in identifying and challenging existing wastes. People at all levels must be educated and empowered to unhide wastes and remove them with help of the others. This is actually the Kaizen at work.
In many organizations people are not comfortable in identifying and challenging existing practices. This is mainly due to the bad management and insufficient knowledge among workers. Remember, if you are not identifying and removing waste continuously from your system you can not be a world class performer, neither can be called as a lean manufacturer. Have a look at your organization. Are your workers comfortable in identifying wastes and challenge them?