8 Keys to Designing a Lean Facility

Coming up with the best design for your Lean facility is a task like no other. It’s takes more than skills and expertise to design a facility, especially one that emphasizes Lean philosophies. To construct a proper Lean layout, one must also add creativity to their skills and expertise to have success.

It’s not a task for just anyone to take on, but sticking the these eight keys will help you get through your journey and on your way to the Leanest facility possible.

8 Keys To Designing a Lean Facility

Looking over facility1. Sustain effort level all the way through: To propose and follow through with the best solution for your Lean facility design, you have to be prepared with the necessary effort it’s going to take. Time management is key here. Be sure to allocate enough time to address the problem and force yourself to fully concentrate on the issue from there on out.

2. Don’t let the details slow you down: Certain details have a way of working themselves out throughout the process. Remember this is also a creative process not just a scientific one. Spending too much time on one minor detail throws off the creative process and can alter your train of thought. It can also hinder your motivation and lower your effort level. If you get caught up on one detail that you don’t feel confident in at that time, move on to the next one — be patient.

3. Highlight the current flaws with questions from all angles: Using a simple technique like the 5 whys can go a long way. Don’t forget about what, who, when, where, which, and how as well. Simple questions can create simple answers to your problems and make others feel like they are contributing to the organization in more ways than one.

4. Don’t become easily satisfied: Come up with several alternatives to your problem and avoid personal bias when discussing different ideas. If you fall in love with one particular design to early in the process, it can hurt other ideas that come along later. Also, by favoring one idea over the other too early can make others involved feel like their ideas are not as important, or relevant to the solution. Having several options gives management a chance to put the best possible design in place to meet the needs of the facility. 

5. Think outside the box: Now is not the time to be conservative. Even some of the most outlandish ideas have turned out to help organizations make dramatic improvements. Just because it hasn’t been tried before, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have the ability to increase your productivity and profitability. Simply adjusting a current process may be all that is needed at the time, but in order to make major leaps in improvement, one must think outside the box and re-evaluate the entire process, step by step.

6. Avoid rejecting before reflecting: A good Lean facility should always be open to new ideas. Ideas need to be brainstormed and have a chance to resonate before determining there legitimacy. Only after careful consideration and analysis of the pros and cons should an idea be rejected.

7. Be resourceful: Not every facility is the same, but it’s never a bad idea to see how others have success attempting similar projects. Talk to your peers, go to trade shows, read magazines, research websites anything else that might be a benefit to your research.

8. Collaborate: A group approach is important to embrace, but also understand it’s limitations. Gathering a small group of diverse individuals who can bring their knowledge is extremely beneficial to the project. However if not done correctly, can backfire in a hurry. Be careful not to criticize, instead value each contribution equally, without judgement. Build on each other’s ideas and encourage open dialogue to spark creativity. 

Many of these ideas and concepts are not new to a Lean practitioner, but they are important to bring back to the forefront when tackling a big project like this. Designing a Lean facility is a crucial task your continuous improvement process, sticking to the fundamentals while taking it on will help you tremendously in your journey.

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Kyle Holland

As a Content Developer for Creative Safety Supply, I pride myself on creating educational, well researched content to a niche audience of safety enthusiasts and safety managers around the globe. The philosophies and concepts of Kaizen, 5S, and Lean play a significant role in my own personal ideologies and help fuel the creativity behind my writing. Via the many communication channels offered by CSS, my goal is to help educate, motivate, and improve the safety of people, both at home and at work.