Do More with Less—Three Steps to Creating and Maintaining Lean
Many companies say they want to increase their company’s competitiveness and accumulate improvement goals more quickly. They want to maintain higher profits, increase production, and reduce waste. But where do you start?
Lantech, a leading U.S.-based manufacturer of shrink wrap equipment used in the printing industry, turned to Lean Manufacturing over a decade ago in order to regain its competitive edge. It created a successful Lean environment and maintained it, becoming a benchmark for the application of Lean practices within U.S. manufacturing.
Here is Lantech’s advice to other manufacturers:
- Implement Standard Work and Kaizen
Lean Manufacturing is a management system born out of the philosophy and practices of the Toyota Production System—considered by many to be the world’s best manufacturing company—and have since been adopted by North American companies to systematically reduce waste, lead time, and achieve a better production flow. This is a proven model to implement a Lean system.
Jim Lancaster of Lantech on the importance of Lean management
- Maintain Your Past Improvements
After all of the effort you put into making your improvements, make sure they last. Stabilize your conditions and focus on continuing to improve. Do not concentrate only on the planning but rather more on the execution. This is done by relying on management to maintain quality as a key initiative. Each subsequent improvement should aim higher than the last, so that the pace of progress continues steadily.
- Practice PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act/Adjust)
By applying PCDA principals throughout your operations, you repeat a cycle until you achieve sought-after results.
- Plan: Develop a way to effect improvement
- Do: Implement the plan on a small, manageable scale
- Check: Review for any variance between the predicted results and the actual conditions observed
- Act/Adjust: Take action or modify based on your review
By creating a standardized management system and a process to continuously make improvements, your company can reach goals and not just fall back into the same old processes that were setting you back. If you are interested and would like to learn more about creating and maintaining Lean Manufacturing practices, take a look at the video featuring Jim Lancaster, CEO and Owner, Lantech. Lancaster will also present Lean Management: Staying on Course with Improvement Goals at our annual Continuous Improvement Conference, April 7–10, in Indianapolis, Indiana. The conference also features a tour to one of Toyota’s largest plants in North America.