Here on this blog we have discussed lean manufacturing, and why you should go for it. As per the post last week, vast majority of people go for lean to get cost effective systems followed by the pressure for shorter lead time. All of them can be valid reasons to go for lean manufacturing. But there are certain set of end results you should not have in your mind when you start your lean initiative. I thought it will be beneficial to list some of them.
1. To reduce number of heads from your organization
This is probably is the most misunderstood motive in lean. The logic behind this is that, if you increase your productivity with the lean initiative, you need lesser people to do the same amount of work carried out early. So you can operate with lesser number of workers. Seems to be right isn’t it. No it is wrong. If a lean manufacturer thinks like this they are missing one important piece to complete their lean house. That is the “respect for people”.
This shows you have not understood the concepts of lean. So starting point would be understanding these important concepts before even thinking about implementing lean. Lean talks about eliminating waste not people 🙂
2. To reduce costs and achieve efficiencies and profits over night
In today’s world people want instant results. If you want to implement lean today and if you are looking to get better efficiencies and higher profits the next day or even next month, I am sorry lean will not help you. As I highlighted in the last blog, most organizations will take at least 5 years in their lean journey to achieve world class stratus.
Lean is a journey not a jump. It needs time and continuous improvement. It is not a magic pill which will make all your dreams come true in the next day.
3. Because others are following and lean is the talk of the manufacturing world
It is good to learn from others. But if you copy them you will not go anywhere. Even if you copy from Toyota’s famous Toyota Production System (also known as TPS) and even if you are a car manufacturer you will not succeed. While concepts of lean can be applied in any context, whether it is manufacturing, service, office or even military, application is unique to the particular organization.
There is no single fit which will suite everyone. This is not an exception with lean. Unfortunately if you copy a lean implementation from anywhere else and fail you will go back few steps even from where you started. So please do not blame lean for creating chaos in your organization.
4. To use tools like SMED, Kaizen and Pokayoke
If you have heard about kanban, pokayoke, Kaizen and SMED and the increase in the results they bring to the others you might want to use them too. Yes these are great tools. They are simple yet mighty effective. They have re produced these results in different conditions in different implementations over and over again. But I can guarantee you will not achieve any of your intended results, just by using these tools.
To get the results you must understand the concepts behind using these tools. You have to use them in a way it will suit your organization. Otherwise using these tools will just be a burden on your organization.
If you ask me what is the single most important thing when it comes to lean, I would say without any doubt it is the understanding the concepts on which lean manufacturing is built upon. All the listed misuses of lean are due to the lack of understanding in these base concepts. Please take your time and understands the concepts before you try implementing lean.
If you have any addition to do to this list please leave your comments.