How You Can Implement Lean Manufacturing Into Your Small Business

Limited resources, limited time and a mountain of tasks to accomplish are some of the necessary evils that are a part of small business ownership. That being said, one surefire way to alleviate the suffering is by becoming leaner. Carving out hours in order to handle more important activities and delegating the less crucial projects is part of careful enterprise resource planning (ERP). Internal processes are streamlined as a result, and success is aided by growth. Here are a few ways business leaders can begin to build and follow through on a lean manufacturing strategy.

Types of Waste

Business activity output either shows up as value or waste. One of the most crucial steps in trimming excess is identifying and eliminating waste through a variety of tools and resources. There are a number of ways that waste can find its way into a business. Wasteful inventory can lead to too much idle product, while waste in transportation can involve costly energy expenditures. Some businesses may waste motion by moving resources around without a strict purpose. If your company is playing defense, this is time not spent providing value. You also need to manage your production cycle to avoid overproduction and reduce excessive overhead costs. Simplifying material movement flows can drive more focused effort. As a result, spotting bottlenecks become easier and operations run more smoothly.

Stay Active on the Ground

Receiving intel second hand as a manager is sometimes crucial for a number of reasons. There are also instances where a ‘boots on the ground’ policy can prove highly effective as an informal way of understanding process flow. In order to continue to improve, you should base changes on things observed directly from the workplace. The concept of gemba kaizen was born in Japan before making its way through other schools of thought. Literally translating to “the actual place,” gemba refers to the integration of continuous improvement within the internal culture and making sustainable improvements over the long term. In lean manufacturing, the gemba would be the production floor itself – this is the center of value creation.

Philosophy of Lean

Incremental improvement, at the slow and steady pace of a tortoise, is the true “spirit of lean.” The former Chief Architect of Toyota’s Production line, Taiichi Ohno, was an outspoken proponent of this proverb. He was quoted as saying, “the slower but consistent tortoise causes less waste.”

Lean is essentially the persistent pursuit of waste elimination from top to bottom, forming better internal networks and increasing interpersonal communication. Once you get on the lean path, you can arrange a tool suite to combat problems as they arise moving forward. For a small business owner, going lean and planning resources can help to promote efficiency.

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