I've just returned from a very interesting and thought provoking seminar 'The Lean Commandments' at The Manufacturing Institute, Trafford Park, Manchester. During the day a variety of presentations were made from people like John Bicheno the author of The Lean Toolbox as well as interesting case studies from companies who have embarked with differing levels of success on the lean journey.
Perhaps the most inspiring was the presentation made by David Graham of Leyland Trucks. David has been with LT for 47 years and he spun a fantastic yarn of how they transformed the company from a profitless sinking ship in the late 1980's to the world class company they are today. He also explained in his inimitable Lancashire style his own personal transformation from a draconian production manager widely known as 'The Rottweiler' (and he was proud of it at the time) to a forward thinking, soft skilled, Continuous Improvement Manager.
Speaker after speaker reported on the tremendous gains that can be made when you begin to eat into waste during the first years of a lean programme (like collecting gold bars off the shop-floor) e.g. 40% labour reduction, 112.5% productivity increase, 24% space reduction, 96% WIP reduction, 250% increase in stock turnaround, 89% lead time reduction - funny I don't think anybody mentioned increased %'s in customer satisfaction but surely that would follow.
Lean is about defining value for a specific product or service from the end customer's perspective, identifying the value stream (or process), making it flow, letting the customer pull products as needed and continually improving. Central to the lean philosophy is the relentless elimination of all waste (effort, time (waiting/transportation), inventory, space, cost, mistakes, missed opportunities etc.). Many of the common 'quality' tools may be utilised during different stages of lean implementation such as value stream mapping, 5S, problem solving tools, SMED, TPM, Poka Yoke, Kaizen etc.
Is lean the panacea?
Is it applicable to all organisations?
Should we all get lean immediately?
Have you any positive or negative experience of lean to share?
Visit the lean resource on the Saferpak website: http://www.saferpak.com/lean.htm
Visit The Manufacturing Institute: http://www.manu-online.com
Summers Coming and it's Time to Get LEAN!
Posted 20 March 2003 - 08:54 PM
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