Lean manufacturing ‘maximises value, reduces waste’

Thursday, May 23rd

Implementing the lean manufacturing system helps businesses to boost customer value, while minimising costs and streamlining processes.

This is according to Chris Forster of professional services firm KPMG, who was quoted by National Australia Bank as saying the system works on the premise that using resources for anything other than customer value creation is wasteful.

Lean manufacturing was developed by Toyota to maximise the efficiency of its production line, but is now used globally by many manufacturers and service providers.

Mr Forster said: “In order to understand value from your customers’ perspective you must engage with them and listen to what they have to say.

“If you have a number of customers, you can’t assume they all want the same thing.”

He said it is important not to do anything unless it is specifically desired by customers, adding that ‘non-lean’ organisations often produce various non-value-adding reports that have little end benefit.

“Lean is about building structured problem-solving and continuous improvement into the mindset of the organisation and making it part of everyone’s role,” Mr Forster explained.

The importance of working towards perfection was highlighted, with customer values changing over time as products and services continue to improve.

According to Mr Forster, lean manufacturing also prevents businesses falling into the trap of rewarding employees for being busy rather than productive.

Many organisations praise their personnel for fulfilling tasks and conducting meetings that result in very little outcomes for the consumer.

The need for manufacturing training was also suggested to help workers to understand the principle more closely.

“Lean principles need to be embedded into the culture,” he explained.

“The people who are doing the work need to feel engaged and empowered.”

The workforce also needs to learn to communicate with customers as frequently as possible to ensure they remain in touch with changing attitudes and trends, he concluded.

Spectra has a range of very popular Competitive Systems and Practices courses that have been designed for both office and manufacturing requirements. Implementing Lean Thinking into your headquarters can increase productivity and reduce waste.