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The most common mistakes companies make in implementing Lean Manufacturing

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Toyota’s success in implementing lean manufacturing has inspired companies around the world to adopt this innovative process. Companies that want to reduce waste and improve quality can start to follow lean manufacturing in their production processes.

It is important that the implementation runs smoothly without which the desired results can not be achieved. In order to do this, companies need to know about the common mistakes made during implementation. Knowing about these mistakes ensures that they will not be repeated.

Manufacture and installation of solar power systems

Error in Lean Manufacturing Implementation

Lack of leadership support

The support and involvement of the leadership or top management of the company is essential for the successful implementation of lean manufacturing. The implementation of process improvements will not be effective unless the top management actively engages themselves. They need to lead and inspire the organization. Improvement should start from the top level so that it can be easily accepted.

2. Employees are not educated

Long before implementation begins, employees need to be properly educated about lean manufacturing. This includes creating awareness and making people understand how to implement the practices. It is important that employees are made aware of the benefits they get by implementing lean manufacturing. Without this step, the implementation would be flawed.

Lack of a proper strategy

Any implementation requires proper planning and strategic. If lean manufacturing is to be implemented, the company must have a strategy in place.

The strategy should provide a clear roadmap for implementation with clear timelines. Along with deciding timelines, responsibilities need to be outlined. The strategy must also have a plan B for implementation. Problems during implementation must be anticipated and plans made to address them. Without it, the implementation process is likely to face obstacles.

4. Focus only on cost cutting

Lean manufacturing will have a definite and positive impact on product quality and waste reduction. This will lead to cost cutting, which may eventually lead to improved profitability. But companies make the mistake of focusing only on cost cutting.

Many benefits of lean manufacturing are not immediately apparent. It takes time to achieve the goals. If the company’s focus is only on cost cutting, they may be disappointed in the short term. This can lead to a lack of interest and failure of implementation. This is a mistake that should be avoided.

Reducing human error in manufacturing

5. Focus on tools instead of principles

Lean manufacturing revolves around certain core principles. The company must understand these principles and ensure that the implementation is aimed at achieving these principles.

There are many tools in the implementation of lean manufacturing such as 5S, Kaizen, etc. These tools are the means to the implementation and not the goal. Too much focus on the tools can lead to a superficial implementation where the principles are forgotten. The purpose of the tool should be to help with problem solving. Excessive focus on 5S, for example, can lead to problems being hidden due to cleaning and rearrangement. This can cause other problems later.

6. Fear of failure

One of the roadblocks in the implementation of lean manufacturing is the fear of failure. The fear of failure makes many managers hesitate to implement strategies. What you need to know is that failure in lean is truly the stepping stone to success. Only when mistakes happen, there is opportunity for affirmative action and improvement.

Giving up the fear of making mistakes is important for smooth implementation.

7. Relying too much on experts

Some companies set up a lean office consisting of experts to manage the entire implementation. This can be a problem as it leads to excessive dependence on some people. For lean to be successful, every single person must be involved.

The strategy should focus on co-opting everyone in the process and not depend on a few people to manage the implementation.

8. Copying others

One big mistake companies make is copying from others. Just because company X followed a certain strategy does not mean that this strategy will work for everyone. Each company is separate and has its own culture and set of problems.

A one-size-fits-all approach will not work. The implementation strategy must be unique to each company.

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