Lean Maintenance Is Pro-Active To the Core

Lean Maintenance is sometimes called zero maintenance. It does not mean that there will be no maintenance work done. It simply means that any maintenance work must coincide with the normal operations such that it will not affect the normal flow of company operations. For example, by experience a machine part normally wears out in three months. Two days before the third month is up, the part is replaced and normal operations continue. By doing this machines do not suffer breakdowns or damage caused by failure to replace the part. No additional money is wasted to pay for repairs. Time is not wasted on repairs. Normal production continues. Hence, zero maintenance time is achieved. This is the goal of lean maintenance.

Being proactive is the key in lean maintenance. This system uses maintenance activitiesLean Maintenance that are planned and scheduled. When to conduct maintenance is determined through reliable ways: from the individual judgment of the worker actively using the machine as he practices the 5S process; the weekly Kaizen suggestions for improvement events; computer managed maintenance system and the maintenance technicians working in accordance with their work order. Parts are provided on a just-in-time basis by a lean maintenance storeroom that is an adjunct of an engineering group. This group is essential for it performs analysis of the root causes for failure of parts, analysis of the effectiveness of procedures for maintenance, and predictive maintenance. All these ensure that the date and period for replacement or maintenance is done even before breakdown occurs.

This value stream-oriented maintenance must be implemented as part of the goal of eliminating all kinds of waste in every stage and area of the production of goods. This is now the end goal of Lean Manufacturing. So, for lean manufacturing to be achieved, lean maintenance must first be instituted.

In scope, lean manufacturing is the bigger circle while inside and lending support is lean maintenance; and, within lean maintenance is the core of being Pro-Active.

An overview of lean logistics

In these days, business world has become extremely competitive. Finding the right balance between the availability of raw materials, customer demand and production speed and cost, has become a complicated task and the fierce competition is making matters worse as well. That is where the importance of lean logistics comes in and applying this model will improve the efficiency, competitiveness and profit of a business organization.

Lean Logistics aims at increasing the product flow and speed by identifying and eliminating wasteful activities from the supply chain. Implementing lean thinking will benefit businessLean Logistics organizations in many ways and a good number of companies have already implemented it to reap the benefits of lean logistics. The implementation of lean logistics will result in the reduction of environmental impact (elimination of waste) and more efficient customer service.

Four processes can be associated with lean logistics and they include specifying value, mapping out value stream, creating a product flow and establishing a customer pull. First of all, customer value will be identified and it will be added with the supply chain network. Secondly, all processes of the supply chain network will be evaluated to eliminate the unwanted processes and this mechanism of mapping out the value stream will help a business organization to understand the value of a product from the perspective of the customers.

Thirdly, product flow will be created by applying the factors outlined and the whole system will become smooth by minimizing downtime, inventories and other forms of obstructions. During the fourth phase, clear cut awareness about the demand will be available and manufacturing will be arranged according to the demands of the customers. All these four steps will ensure maximum value and the waste will be reduced to an optimal level. That is why a huge number of companies follow lean logistics to perform better in this world of cut throat competition.

Highly rewarding and satisfying careers as lean experts

A good number of multinational companies use lean manufacturing in their plants and facilities in these days. The experts are of the opinion that these companies have survived the recent economic recession because of the implementation of lean manufacturing and they have been enjoying many cost-saving benefits by eliminating a lot of waste from industrial practice. All these initiatives are being monitored by quality professionals known as lean experts.

A lean expert can be described as a person who is proficient in the concept of lean manufacturing and a person should undergo sufficient training to become a lean expert. Lean ExpertVarious belt levels will be assigned to these people just like in martial arts and a fresher in lean will be treated as a person with ‘yellow belt’. An expert will be considered as a lean expert with ‘black belt’. Lean experts can work as full time employees or on a contract basis, depending on the mutual agreement between the company and professional.

Some of the tools employed by the lean experts include kaizen and 5S. They will make use of these types of tools to increase the efficiency of a company by changing the corporate mindset and it will result in the increased productivity. The flexibility and mobility attached with the career of a lean expert motivate people to pursue this profession as a career. A good number of brilliant and young people are getting attracted towards this profession and it is going to get even better in the immediate future. 

Various types of manufacturing industries offer jobs for lean experts and these industries range from mattresses to automotive to medical field. The importance of lean principles is getting increased day by day and that is what makes lean experts an unavoidable aspect in the modern business world. An experienced lean expert will be placed among the top positions of a company and he/she will be able to earn big money as well.

Lean Black Belt – Training Course

The Lean Black Belt course is a training course which is designed to teach master practitioners how to implement the lean method across their organization. The course lays out the methodology of how to implement lean in to the organization’s infrastructure, from the traditional processes, all the way through to the product delivery system. The Lean Black Belt training course is designed to help practitioners learn how to:
- describe how the lean practice fits together (and fits in to their organization’s Lean Black Belt - Training Courseinfrastructure);
- how the lean black belt provides direction for their organization; and,
- how they are supposed to apply the principles of this system across their organization.

Once the course is completed, the practitioner will have various new skill sets under their belt. Some of the things that the course is going to teach them along the way includes: how to accomplish supplier logistics integration, how to develop a multitier product delivery system, how to identify the components of the lean principles, how to develop the lean method in to the organization, and several other skills, which will ensure smoother operation and flow within the organization. From the product development stage, to the transport and delivery, the Lean Black Belt system and training course will give business owners the required skill set and knowledge needed, to ensure they are going to truly benefit, and lead the way in their line of business.

The black belt approach entails three prongs which are:
- incorporating quality belief;
- waste elimination; and,
- employee involvement in the organization’s structure and development.
So, as a business owner, taking this Lean Black Belt course (which can be tailored to any type of organization or business structure/ line of business), will give you the necessary tools to properly train and develop employees, so that your company can be a leader in its field.

The Difference between Lean Office and Lean Manufacturing

What is a Lean Office?
A Lean Office is a place where the best customer service is offered by eliminating all the possible waste during production. It is accomplished by creating a smooth flow of work in the lean office and creating a standardized way of accomplishing work. The lean office operates using the principles used in lean manufacturing.

Lean OfficeLean Office vs. Lean Manufacturing
The Lean Office and Lean Manufacturing have many similarities but there are certain differences that are needed to be pointed out in order to have a more effective lean office.

One of the main differences of the two is the waste it produces. Manufacturing wastes are easily quantifiable and are quite visible. This makes it easier to apply problem solving techniques to lessen the waste. Office wastes, on the other hand, are difficult to spot. Office work usually involves a lot of people making it harder to monitor. It is also hard to monitor the pending work on each work station. Because of these factors, it is more difficult to make solutions to office waste problems.

Lean ManufacturingAnother difference between the two is the culture. Culture can affect the manner by which the company works. The manufacturing culture is informal unlike the lean office culture. Having a formal working environment makes it easier to assign responsibility and define job roles.

Also, it is easier to carry out changes in the lean office than in manufacturing. Changes done in the office are often minimal. Further training could suffice to make these changes. Managing changes and monitoring them is easier in a lean office environment.

The Lean office and lean manufacturing share most of the principles in reducing the waste in the workplace. Both follows the lean principles that started in the manufacturing sector but found its way to the offices and administrations. Although they do share some principles, the differences should also be noted to make a more efficient and effective working environment.

Job Description for a Lean Manager

Lean manufacturing is making business more effective by getting personnel to work smarter. The process involves keeping workplace in order, ensuring quality product building, removing unnecessary inventory, simplifying and utilizing visualization. The main goal of lean innovation is to enhance employee productivity as well as boost worker contentment by decreasing the work load that staff has to do. At times businesses employ lean managers to run lean transformation.

Lean managerTrade production managers usually execute methods like lean management. Lean manager check everyday processes of a company. Then, he provides workers with consultation and guidance, executing principles of lean management. Lean manager then ensures that the workers follow this system and continue educating workers whenever necessary.

Time is divided for the office as well as production facility. These managers must take time to plan methods of implementing the principles of lean production and must spend a little time sharing ideas with other managers. Crucial time is spent in the business production facility where he oversees production processes and gives training as well. In this setting, these managers are exposed to same hazards the workers are exposed to, although these dangers can be avoided by good safety precautions.

Lean managementLean system is often utilized by manufacturing industry therefore many lean managers require previous experience in the industry. Companies which use lean management processes can also possibly use systems such as Demand Flow, Six Stigma, Visual Management and Just-in-Time. So, managers who possess previous experience are likely to get employed to implement these systems. Skills in communication and presentation are also significant when a lean manager is educating and mentoring workers.

According to Labor Statistics Bureau, the demand for industrial manufacturing managers is likely to decline. The decline is due to overall decline of manufacturing industry because of outsourcing as well as international competition. Nevertheless, the demand for production managers will not drop as much since managerial skills are hard to automate.

Dealing with Resistance to Lean Solutions

Many business owners decide to employ a lean solutions company to assist in transforming their loss-making and inefficient business around. Bringing in loads of lean practices will allow businesses to do very well. When it comes to getting rid of places where waste has occurred, they emphasize on streamlining the processes of the business. Additionally, cumulative but gradual changes are brought about in an organization to ensure it can be operated more efficiently and profitably. Further, they also help explain how long-term and short-term planning can be done so that the company achieves its goals.

Lean Solutions The first step of this long process is to employ a lean solutions consultant. Different useful systems and processes are set up by the consultant within the organization. However, it must be kept in mind that a couple of problems are encountered when shifting to lean functioning. Everyone in an organized should contribute towards it and accept it completely for this style of management to prove to be effective. At the outset, this rarely happens because classic signs of resistance to change are exhibited by many people.

A lean style of functioning is often perceived by many people as nothing but a way of cost cutting. Most people directly translate this to job cuts. However, this is not required at all times, though it might be necessary for trimming particular jobs. What it actually does it that it eliminates wasteful processes. This way, job satisfaction is increased. However, many problems can occur because of the lack of awareness of these changes. Thus, companies that offer lean solutions also offer assistance to structurally deal with this problem.

Lean CultureOver time, a lean mindset imbues into most of the employees. Dealing with increased competition becomes easier for an organization and no negative methods that reduce cost have to be resorted to. With lean solutions it can be ensured that customers and employees remain satisfied, while the profitability of the organization skyrockets.

Implementing Lean warehousing solutions

Lean warehousing is related to improving the warehousing operations by controlling and optimizing the flow of material, implementing suitable order processing system, maintaining proper replenishment levels and maintaining efficient shipping standards. When Lean practitioners try to come out with an implementation strategy, they consider all the above mentioned factors and come out with a strategy that would help in eliminating waste and improving lean material flow. The lean expert would include the following steps as part of their implementation strategy

1. Evaluating the existing warehousing procedures
2. Designing the new value stream map
3. Operational Planning

Lean Warehousing

Evaluation of the existing warehousing procedures

This forms the first phase of the implementation strategy, where the lean expert would evaluate the different concepts related to warehousing including material handling and space utilization. They would evaluate the existing system using a tool called value stream map. The value stream map is a graphical representation of the different processing activities that happens in a production environment and the status of the material that goes through this process flow.

Designing new value stream map

With the existing value stream map, lean experts would be able to identify the areas in the production process that needs to be streamlined to make the warehousing operations much more effective and leaner. The required corrections have to be made in the value stream map to improve the material flow and also help in effectively utilizing the space available in the warehouse. The new stream map is then base lined and the operational planning activity would start based on the new value stream map

Operational planning

In the operation planning phase, lean experts would come out with several projects to achieve the objectives in reducing the order processing time and lead time significantly. Different teams would be formed to work on individual projects and a project co-coordinator would be identified to co-ordinate the results of the different projects.

Lean Operations

Thus Lean warehousing plays an important role in improving the space utilization and improving the material flow in a production environment.

Different processes involved in creating a Lean Office

The concept of Lean office has been there for the last ten years and has been gaining gradual ground in the last five years. The main objective for creating a Lean office is to make optimum utilization of the available resources without wasting any of these precious resources. This is based on the Japanese productivity principle of Kaizen. Some people are of the assumption that Lean office is related to accomplishing things faster, which is not the case.

continuous process improvementDifferent process areas related to Lean office

1. Getting the buy in from different levels of people in the organization.

2. Making use of process mapping

3. Gathering data from the current process map

4. Designing a future state map

5. Focusing on continuous process improvement

Getting the buy in

This is the first process that happens as part of the Lean office creation. During this process, the top management and the actual work force need to be fully convinced about the consequences of implementing a Lean Office program. They have to be totally convinced in order to provide financial and whole hearted support for the program.

Process mapping

Process maps can be created to arrive at the existing information flow and the paper flow across the different divisions of the office.

Gathering data from the current process map

In this process, the group would be collecting data related to time wastage and wastage created while performing the actual work

Lean OfficeDesigning a future state map

In this process, group would be creating a future state map based on what the company should look like in the immediate future. The state map should include new waste free processes and the related information flows.

Focusing on Continuous process improvement

Once the execution of the plan put forward ion the future state maps, managements and the workforce should focus on continuous process improvement to fine tune the processes.

Lean Office Tools

This is also known as lean manufacturing tools. Lean tools are the processes and plans which are used to spot problems in the production process, and solve those problems in a manner that enhances the effectiveness of the business. A variety of tools are utilized to assess situations and respond in a way that helps to reduce waste and clearing the way to earn huge profits. All sizes of businesses can adjust to these fundamental tools in every situation, whether their concentration is on the line of production or the manner in which tasks are performed in an office environment.

Generally, lean manufacturing ensures that there is no misuse of resources since high quality products are generated to be sold to consumers. Every action which involves usage of resources in a manner that does not aid to fulfill this crucial goal is termed wasteful, and should be eliminated from this operation. From this viewpoint, lean tools aid to constantly assess what is happening in the company and ensure that nothing is wasted.

LeanMany kinds of lean tools aid to identify several reasons for defects in a product, and eliminate the process of these reasons as a method to provide a better final product to consumers. A good example is the approach referred to as Six Sigma, where there is combine usage of statistical information and quality control measures which relate to delivery of product, employee safety, raw materials quality as well as cycle time.

Lean Office ToolsThere is extremely wide range of lean tools. This allows the usage of several combinations of strategies so as to get the desired result. In a few cases, the tools might focus on systematizing flow of production in order to better the benefits. It also helps to identify the point where the flow is working properly and where improvements are required possibly by reorganizing the position of production machinery.