For many years, Lean Manufacturing methods have been implemented in various companies, and its history can be traced as far back as the 1800s. Andrew Nicholson for Manufacturing Times addresses what companies should do next, particularly if they are well advanced in their Lean Manufacturing journey. Such companies have applied Lean techniques across their manufacturing operations, which have helped them trim down on costs, increase productivity, and some have even sustained a culture of Continuous Improvement (CI) by connecting with their employees.
Therefore, there are three main steps that can be considered when a company is already at an advanced stage of the Lean process. For one, the company could focus on the ‘Value-added’ side of Lean Manufacturing. This part looks at the possible ways and opportunities a company can add more value for their customers.
A company could also work on the entire Demand Chain. This extends beyond operations to cover deal with all stages of the order fulfilment process; from quote to cash. After doing this within the business, the same concept can be extended to suppliers, customers, agents, distributors and final-users.
Application of lean thinking throughout the whole organization and not just in production is another step that can be considered. For instance, all employees’ could be trained on the basics of the Lean concept, and how they can apply it in their various sectors of the business.
Applying these steps could take a company well beyond just Lean Manufacturing.