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.

How to Implement a Lean Management System

Excesses in inventory as well as other areas that results to unnecessary expenses in the company while giving no value to customer frequently go unnoticed in an informal manufacturing setting. The lean management system implementation involves the elimination of seven kinds of waste in your business. By getting rid of waste, your business can perform more.

Lean Management System

Implementing lean management system requires many steps to be followed.

Challenge the current meaning of “waste” in your organization. In an informal manufacturing environment, waste is thought as scraps and rework. In the lean management system, it comprises anything which does not put in value to the consumer.

Spot areas where there is overproduction. This is foremost among the seven types of waste which must be removed. The products which cannot be sold as well as those that the price must be reduced to be sold generate waste for your business.

Develop all parts at one point whenever possible. To move a part during the process of manufacturing is a waste of time and resources. In addition, parts can be spoiled during transportation from one point to the next, which create waste as well.

Lean Management ConsultingGet rid of waste. At first, you have to generate processes to ensure there is a single method to produce every part or product. Ensure that there is no room for errors by error-proofing your processes. This will help to eliminate sorting as well as inspection of parts.

Identify unnecessary operator movements which place excessive stress on the body. Perform ergonomic research of your work setting to reduce injuries to employees. This will eliminate superfluous waste of workman’s compensation claims as well as reduce the time and resources that are involved in training the replacement of the injured worker.
Assess specific consumer requirements for every product. Conduct extensive study to find out the processes that add value to your customer.

Diminish waiting time for your workers. Restructure the processes to ensure that your operators do not spent time waiting for work.

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.

The Lean Solutions Business Approach

Under Lean Solutions business model, businesses are going to learn different methods to organize and manage operations, suppliers, and customer relations, in order to ensure a smoother flowing and running business model. Using the Lean Solutions approach, many manufacturers (and other organizations), create goods and services that bring more value to their customers. By following the approach these manufacturers can produce products with fewer defects and errors, use less human effort to create the products, less space and capital, and less time in creating the products, due to the unique method and development process that is learned through the Lean Solutions approach.

Lean Production By using this approach, companies can become more customer oriented and focused, more efficient with the resources that are used in production, and become leaders in their industry. Under the Lean Solutions approach, manufacturers and businesses are also going to learn how to use a team based approach to continuously improve production and the way their company is run (across the entire organization), in order to ensure longer term sustainability in their line of work. The business approach also teaches companies how to work more efficiently, and use fewer resources, in order to meet customer wants and demands, which will in turn allow the business to remain ahead of their industry, and keep customers that turn to them happy at all times.

Lean manager It does not matter what line of work, or which industry focus your company is in. With the right approach, resources, and knowing how to move along the business model line, you can become far more efficient, spend fewer resources, and become a leader in your industry with the Lean Solutions approach. Learning this method, and getting employees on board, is critical for organizations that want to be on top, increase profits, and keep their end consumer happy.

3 powerful lean consulting tools

Lean consulting has become one of the hottest topics of discussion in these days. Optimal productivity can be achieved with help of a quality lean consultant and the increasing affinity of the people towards this concept reiterates the real quality of lean consulting.

Lean consulting

Here are the 3 most powerful lean consulting tools that will redefine attitudes of the people towards business:

1) Value added analysis

This method will help a businessperson to categorize an activity under three sections and they include value added, non- value added and non-value added but required. A top quality lean consultant will find out unwanted and wasteful activities like over-production and duplication. Great lean consultants will engage the employees in the best possible manner and they will conduct frequent interactions with all the employees to make the correct assessment of non-value added activities. This lean consulting tool is all about measuring the time, frequency, cost and energy required for non-value added activities and it will make a new design to eliminate all these unwanted elements. The time and effort required for ‘non-value added but required’ activities will be minimized as well.

2) Five-Why framework

This tool is one of the most popular and effective methods of lean consulting. When a person asks ‘why’ to a problem statement he/she will be able to find out the root cause of the problem with the fifth ‘why’ question. This lean consulting tool will come up with the all important 5 questions to identify the root cause of the problem.

3) Pareto charts

It can be described as a graphical representation of the real situation and the magnitude of the problem will be represented with the help of bars. The issues that require prime priority will be highlighted with big bars and the sizes of the bars will get reduced in a gradual manner with less significant issues. The priority list can be prepared quite easily with this method and the remedial measures will also be identified in the best manner.

Lean tools Quality consultants will make use of all these tools in a harmonious manner to ensure continuous improvement and great success.

Lean Warehousing: The Art of Maximizing Storage Space and Profits

Henry Ford is championed as one of the pioneers in developing the lean warehousing philosophy. Eiji Toyoda and Shoichiro Honda are usually mentioned in the same breath for their contribution towards making lean warehousing part of their winning strategy in creating successful auto businesses geared towards reducing wastage of time, storage space and raw materials. Institutions such as the Material Handling Institute of America are today pushing for handling of raw materials and processed goods using the latest warehousing equipment and technology. This is because lean storage is significant in progressing the global economy in a manner that ensures steady supply of goods to the growing population in addition mitigating negative environmental effects emanating from industrial practices. Companies such as Industrial Scientific Corp. have been instrumental in demonstrating environmental and economic benefits that lean warehousing philosophy can bring about.

Lean Warehousing

As a company dealing in gas detection equipment and systems, an increase in production once threatened its production as its warehousing space ran out quickly. As a result, the company was faced with the possibility of missing the set deadlines and this could have culminated to loss of clients. ISC had the costly option of building a new storage facility or hiring one. However, it had the third option that involved lean management of storage space. ISC adapted high-bay storage techniques, expanded its mobile cart movements and automated its warehouse inventory data management systems. As a result, the company reduced 300 sq. feet initially occupied by carts to 67 sq. feet, leaving over 200sq. feet of free storage space hence saving the cost of constructing a new warehousing facility, pushing up its efficiency and profits.

warehouse management

As a manufacturer or a warehouse operator you can do things the old fashioned way and throw away your innovation and financial grip or opt for the lean way and sail through modern industrial challenges modernity presents.

The main Advantages of Lean Management

A lot of organizations have undertaken Lean to decrease the wastage of material and to adapt procedures that give optimum output. Lean management has been of great benefit to service sector organizations all over the world. The main objective of lean management is to improve quality and value to customer by reducing waste. It is advantageous to clients, personnel and also the organization as whole. Lean management comes along with financial and operational gains.

Lean ManagementBenefits to workers

Lean gives room for reductions in waste as a result of overproduction and mismanagement of time. This is achievable by delivering cross-functional training to workers, which helps boost their skills to participate in various types of work with a far better perception of ownership. The role of each individual is well defined thus reducing friction that comes as a result of overlapping of responsibilities. In Lean management, there is maximum employee satisfaction as each person understands their own contribution operations.

With the help of Lean management, an organization is able to enforce steady advancements in its overall performance by improving the increments with lowered risks of change management. There is also a major improvement on employee productiveness which helps to achieve the company goals effectively.

Lean Management definitionPositive aspects to Customers

Lean management helps to develop adaptable operations, which may easily change to customers’ needs. It delivers a constant flow, which helps to lessen the work in progress as well as sequence occasions. As a result, Lean reduces the customer delivery time, as the production is carried out based on consumer requests. Lean management creates a mistake-proofing approach, so that flaws do not occur. This assists to reduce waste, increase the quality of output and save costs. As a result there is customer satisfaction and thus an increase in profits.

The advantages of lean management are many and can be applied on business operations as well as the whole organization. Lean management offers companies a competitive advantage over other organizations and helps them stay ahead of competition that may be tough to beat.