|Making Lean Work|
Besides the basic challenges implementing lean tools, a lean transformation involves much more than simply improving individual production processes. It is a complex effort encompassing all disciplines within an organization. The lean solution is a holistic one and must be implemented in a holistic way. For a timely and successful transformation, a company needs a customized approach that covers all the bases.
A successful transformation therefore requires everyone in the company to understand and work toward the shared goal of producing the highest quality goods, on time, and at the lowest possible cost by systematically eliminating waste.
The key is to change the complete operating system:
These systems must be synchronized individually and as a group, so that all internal and external elements complement one another and do not pull in different directions. The central synchronizing concept in making lean work is doing each process step "just in time" – making and moving only what is needed, when it is needed, in the amount needed, and where needed along the value adding chain.
Done right, "lean" or "JIT" minimizes the lead-times and costs of creating the final product while maximizing production flexibility. Lean is thus an integrated approach to performance improvement all along the value chain, with a particular focus on eradicating waste from all internal processes of a business or manufacturing unit.
Lots of companies have failed to complete such a full lean transformation in the past years. Many of them are now forced to try it again. Hopefully they learned from their mistakes. They won’t get a third chance!