Lean Management

Slapping the word ‘lean’ in front of anything in the manufacturing world today is getting quite popular, and while some of it may be over stepping on the part of individuals there is something to be gained from looking at lean management.   With lean strategies being implemented primarily to help reduce waste and improve profitability, applying these concepts to management positions is a perfect fit.  This is especially true because in the majority of cases lean implementers must work with managers to ensure they get the necessary support and buy in from everyone in the facility.

Helping managers look at the areas they are in charge of differently is an important step in the process.  Rather than looking exclusively at how their actions will impact their own departments, they can start by looking at the bigger picture and seeing how their department is going to help support the rest of the facility.

How Lean Management Helps Everyone

One great example of how lean management will help any facility is when looking at the differences between how many managers run a department and how it should be run using lean strategies.  In most cases managers are going to focus on getting things done in an efficient manner which will help them look good in the eyes of their bosses.  When, however, they take a step back and look at how their specific department serves the rest of the facility they may adjust what they are doing.  Rather than putting one task off until the end of the day, for example, they may find that another department needs the results of that process at 1PM.

They can adjust the work schedule of the department they are managing to ensure they are finished with that task by 1PM so they are not holding up any other areas.  Also getting through the production processes which have the most areas relying on them first is a great way to avoid any potential problems from other departments.  This type of thinking can be applied to basically any department in any facility.  Whether they are physically involved with creating a product or are a support team providing the data or order details, they can get things done in the right order to ensure maximum productivity throughout the facility.

Lean Management Fosters Adoption of Lean Strategies

Having a facility which is running efficiently under the lean strategies is very important.  No matter how good the changes look on paper, they won’t amount to anything if the people doing the actual work don’t implement the changes properly.  Good lean management techniques can help ensure everyone is able to see the benefits of the changes to there will be much less push back.

Nobody likes to have mandates and rules pushed down on them from the upper management areas, which is why having the lean managers involved both in the creation and roll out of every change will help ensure that the changes get the support they need.  When the managers are closely involved they are able to help ensure the success of every change.

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Antonio Ferraro

On behalf of Creative Safety Supply based in Portland, OR, I strive to provide helpful information to create safer and more efficient industrial work environments. My knowledge base focuses primarily on practices such as 5S, Six Sigma, Kaizen, and the Lean mindset. I believe in being proactive and that for positive change to happen, we must be willing to be transparent and actively seek out areas in need of improvement. An organized, safe, and well-planned work space leads to increased productivity, quality products and happier workplace. Connect with Antonio on Google+