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Maintaining Your Lean Culture with Operator Training

By Joseph Timmins

Lean focuses on efficiency, productivity, and workplace morale by eliminating activities that don’t add value to your manufacturing process. Lean helps companies attain their goals using tools and approaches that are easy to apply, which reduces waste and costs.

They just make sense!

Specific benefits of Lean in manufacturing include:

  • Improved quality/fewer defects
  • Shorter lead times
  • Reduced inventory
  • Better work environment
  • Improved employee morale

Here’s how to properly train your employees to get off the sidelines and into the Lean game:

4-colorful-puzzle-pieces.jpgBuild a Strong Management Team

A strong, well-defined management team is essential. This core team should be responsible for seeking out areas of improvement, share responsibility for implementing/maintaining Lean, and communicating with your entire organization. CEO-level endorsement is vital, too – if your CEO isn’t on board, don’t bother starting.

Educate Your Employees on Lean Principles

Your employees must understand Lean concepts, the goal of eliminating waste, and how to execute. Without this understanding, employees will be lost, ineffective, or discouraged. Education prevents this.

Recognize Types of Waste

It’s important to identify what constitutes waste (e.g., overproduction, excess inventory, scrap, downtime, etc.). Categorizing activities is the first step in developing ways to eliminate waste. Having Lean-educated employees who own a process do this categorization is the best way to get positive long-term results.

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Document New Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for New Processes

Standard operating procedures are the culmination of “say what you do.” New SOPs define Lean processes and ensure consistency of how things get done. SOPs can include inventory tracking, quality control, RMAs, CARs, setups, machine instructions, and more. Documentation can also be beneficial to training, as employees are on-boarded or cross-trained.

Choose the Right ERP System

Selecting an intuitive, easy-to-use ERP system that fits well into your organization will provide clarity for your business; this supports Lean by providing quantitative data and allowing your people to make informed decisions based on numbers versus anecdotal guesses.

Have questions about how Lean practices and processes can work for you, or how you can go about getting an ERP system for your business? Please contact the experts at Acuity for more information.

Topics: lean manufacturing

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