Lean Manufacturing, a vision of what’s to come

Futuristic view of robotic manufacturing controlled by a computerFuturistic view of robotic manufacturing controlled by a computer

More and more companies and more and more of the people who run them are adopting the ‘Lean’ approach to manufacturing. Those who dismiss the idea are beginning to lose ground…

That’s a bold statement yet it’s increasingly true as businesses work ever more tirelessly towards eliminating waste of every conceivable kind from their manufacturing processes, but lean manufacturing isn’t a privilege of large organisations, quite the opposite.

Every business no matter the size or workforce now has the opportunity to improve using better practices, techniques and modern, versatile machinery that empower them all to deliver the best possible quality for the best possible value, from small to medium enterprises, all the way up to multinationals.

It is all too easy to read an article like this and take a degree of offense. Every single business is unique and all strive to deliver value, but identifying that unique value that your customers seek and analysing every step of the processes you take towards delivering it is what lies at the heart of the ‘Lean’ ethos.

Lean manufacturing is a fresh approach, a clean slate if you like; to step back and see how to make things even better. If you aren’t doing it, or if you don’t plan to then be warned, your competition might be.

To be competitive, your business needs to be steered towards a mindset of constant improvement, from the person at the very top to those whose skills deliver the quality your reputation relies upon. Lean manufacturing principles offer benefits such as a more agile (and more happy, satisfied) workforce, more efficient delivery times and streamlined processes but its more than that. Lean manufacturing is a holistic approach towards making improvements, an approach that encourages business innovation and agility.

In short, a new and better way of doing things…

– Documenting and analysing your processes, engaging and investing time and resources with your people on the front line, and asking your customers what ‘Value’ means to them.

– Looking more closely at orders, thinking more carefully about stock levels to free up space and resources, reducing waste materials and thinking about the best, most versatile machinery for a multitude of roles.

– Taking on board the ‘Just in time’ ethos wherein resources and materials arrive exactly when you need them, fabricating them quickly without excess.

– Realising that quality has to be built-in to your company mindset and that it suffers the most from poor practices or human error.

– Aspiring to perfection and realising how to move ever closer to it.

You might already do those things, if so then congratulations, you’ve adopted the Lean Manufacturing approach. If not then your competitors might have. The Lean Manufacturing approach creates an environment where everyone wins and the future is bright, making the switch sooner rather than later might just be a life-changing one for you and your business.

Published 8th September 2019