How Do Leaders Approach Lean in the Manufacturing Industry?

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lean leadership principles manufacturing

At this moment in the manufacturing industry, Lean has its feet on the ground. The ideology of Lean Manufacturing was initially introduced by Toyota Production System (TPS). They implemented Lean practices, bringing an immense amount of change in the final product. The purpose of Lean practice is to keep the value-added components using existing resources, offering a better quality final product. As Lean is not a static system, it demands consistent exercise and supervision until the process is error-free.

The leaders in the manufacturing industry have an awareness of Lean practices and principles, but the question is how do they apply these to the system? Lean principles are to be followed in an order, and the entire organization has to be trained in the principles for steady functioning. When an industry is introduced with Lean practices, the responsibility of its operation falls upon the shoulder of the leaders. Here are a few factors leaders working with Lean Principles should consider:

1. For customer satisfaction, it’s crucial to know the value of the product and what it means to the customer. Leaders enjoy the ability to probe and ask open-ended questions (Value).
2. Once the value is defined, it is the duty of Lean leaders to map the flow of value at all levels—internal and external (Value stream).
3. From manufacturing to delivery of the product, the entire process must be smooth and free. This means there should be no interruption, and if there is one, they should remove it, referring it to as ‘waste’. Lean leaders are aware of the importance of continuous improvement (Flow).
4. To avoid the scenario of unnecessary products sitting in inventory, leaders must make sure that there is no overproduction. This can be achieved by learning the product requirements prior to the start of production (Pull).
5. One must keep practicing the principles of Lean until the state of perfection is achieved- less waste and enhanced quality. Lean leaders must have the general understanding is that regardless of how impeccable the process is, there is always some room for improvement (Perfection).

It is a fact that despite how much effort is put in, no process is flawless. But Lean makes it feasible for industries to run much more smoothly with less errors. Many organizations have adapted continuous improvement and lean principles as a part of their business practices – so much so that they can’t do without it.

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