Friday, April 4, 2014

Lean Quote: Find and Eliminate the Hidden Factory

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"In the U.S.A., about a third of what we do consists of redoing work previously done.— J.M. Juran

Nearly every business has some level of ongoing rework. Most product-based businesses have some form of rework when they don’t satisfy the customer with their first effort. It may be that you can’t supply the complete order in one lot, or the quality of the product does not meet the customers’ needs. In service businesses, rework can occur when the customer is not happy with the service and some form of corrective work or follow up is required by the management team.

Scrap and rework costs are a manufacturing reality impacting organizations across all industries and product lines. No matter why scrap and rework occurs, its impact on an organization is always the same—wasted time and money. Activities that reduce the quality or efficiency of a manufacturing operation or business process, but are not initially known to managers or others seeking to improve the process are referred to as “The Hidden Factory.” Most organizations have some form of a Hidden Factory.

Instead of trying to fix the rework process (which is Muda), determine the root causes of needing rework/repair and fix those. If priority is given to evaluating and improving your manufacturing processes, it becomes much easier to reduce the amount of scrap and rework in your organization. Remember, Lean is about zero defects.

To maintain a competitive edge, manufacturers must constantly find ways to cut costs and improve efficiency. Correcting your systems by finding and eliminating the root causes of rework will result in a much smoother workflow. This will translate directly to bottom line improvements.

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