Deployment and Manufacturing

Improve performance by harnessing untapped potential through collective perception

Many articles are written about well executed lean programs where lead times have been cut, quality costs cut by as much as half, productivity up as much as 30%, and inventory reductions of as much as half. The reality is however that lean is rarely done thoroughly and effectively. There are several limiting behaviors that companies slide into that can contribute to decline in performance outcomes.

If leaders develop a framework for collective reflection that defines what actions will realize the business need, and metrics that provide for periodic feedback and assessment, the organization is likely to be more responsive to a constantly shifting landscape. This approach will provide the means to delineate high-level theory to each individual and then empower them to make the necessary adjustments to stay on the right course.

Research and experience reveal several flaws in the way leaders have approached the effort of implementing lean philosophy: *

Lack of focus

Typically monitoring systems are dedicated to hundreds of machines, but failure to visualize the entire flow and constant observation of what is happening results in bottlenecks that are not uncovered and valuable resources are therefore wasted.

Not incorporating lean processes beyond the factory floor

Not using insights to avoid expending additional capital resources

Not accurately gauging capacity throughput and cycle time. The capacity to see the situation is a keen lean skill. Hidden capacity often exists in bottlenecked assets tied up in unplanned breakdowns, changeovers, and cells not running at optimal speed.

Focus on just WIP inventory

The procurement group is not aligned with lean initiatives and have incentives to attain discounts. As a result large inventories of materials become the norm and are held before the process. Significant savings could emerge from adjusting this.

Overlooking the basics
Lean is about cutting costs and waste, decreasing complexity, improving productivity and improving processes without added investment.
Often application of basic principles yield major breakthrough results.

Without a framework to focus and align the actions of everyone in the organization, once the low-hanging fruit is gone, previous efforts will lose steam as employees slip into old habits. The essence of lean deployment is the change in behavior necessary to sustain high-level performance and the capabilities that permanent change requires.

Lean success is about people. It has been said that you have to produce people before you can produce parts.

*Boston Consulting Group

Back To Top