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Wednesday, March 15, 2023

5 Ways to Keep Focused on Lean Productivity Improvement

Admit it or not, all companies face challenges. In today's competitive market, Lean is turning out to be "the solution" to manufacturing industries across the spectrum for survival and success.

Lean manufacturing helps organizations to achieve targeted productivity and more by introduction of easy-to-apply and maintainable techniques and tools. Its focus on waste reduction and elimination enables it to be engrained into organization culture and turns every process into a profit center.

In a nutshell, lean manufacturing is all about driving toward achieving profitability and productivity through continuous improvement and resource waste elimination. With all of the day-to-day tasks folks need to take care of, it is common that productivity improvement takes a backseat despite great intentions. To avoid that, consider some of these methods to spotlight Lean productivity improvement.

Goal alignment: Perhaps the most powerful aspect of goal setting is its potential use in building an aligned workforce, equipped, empowered, and motivated at all levels to work together to achieve its vision for the future. Setting goals can provide purpose and challenge to energize people to apply their efforts in a specific, planned direction. Well-set and monitored goals that are aligned holistically can put your organization on track for increased employee engagement, productivity, and progress toward achieving its vision.

Visual data management: Use visual boards to display its goals, targets, and performance metrics. The look and feel of the visual board should be standard across your system, with each board including the standard metrics as a designated space for discussion and prioritization of improvement ideas. The visual board in each department should be located in an accessible area in the Gemba so that the data and metrics stay in front of everyone.

Daily huddles: Daily huddles take place at the department level and last for about 10 to 15 minutes. Huddles are led by the staff and are attended by all members of the department Huddles take place directly in front of the visual board so that the metrics that are displayed on the board can be discussed and updated as needed.

Problem-solving: It is recognized that staff cannot implement all solutions or process improvement ideas alone and that process changes often involve other departments or functions. For this reason, part of the daily huddles should be dedicated to problem-solving. This portion of the huddle includes a review of improvement ideas submitted by staff, a progress update on ideas that have been selected for implementation, and feedback received from senior leaders on ideas that have been submitted to senior levels for implementation and/or resourcing. Accountability is achieved through review of progress on implemented ideas with use of a simple WWW (What, Who, and When) form. This process of problem-solving (idea generation), reviewing progress, and providing feedback is key to sustaining team engagement.

Employee recognition: The impact of recognizing employees who engage in Lean productivity improvement can't be understated. It is essential for the individual employee and helps cement a culture that values improvement and signals to the entire organization that leaders care deeply about efforts to implement positive change.

Each organization is different and so are the productivity challenges for your company. You’ll find, however, that even the most basic tools can really hone in your organization’s ability to eliminate waste and focus on continuous improvement.

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