No matter what stage your business is in today, you are bound to aim for bigger and better results at some point. Production processes vary from company to company and depending on the product you are selling, these can get very confusing, very fast.
Lean production method and philosophy is a good way of amending for many of the shortcomings that are commonly found in businesses across the world. What is Lean all about and how can you make your business more profitable by following a few simple guidelines?
What is Lean all about?
Lean manufacturing methodology and philosophy stems from the very popular principle of division of labor. Companies today have become over reliant on computers, internet and electronic communication that they have forgotten how to manage work properly.
Lean production method aims to streamline, simplify and fast-forward the regular production processes that we are accustomed to. We can demonstrate Lean with a sequence of numbers:
While the former represents our current way of thinking and operating, Lean allows us to untangle the proverbial web by creating a straightforward division of tasks, responsibilities and specializations. But what are the direct benefits of using this production philosophy in your company?
Increase in quality
The fact that every segment of the project or a task is handled by an individual employee means that the quality of overall production goes up. This is especially true for processes that require different skillsets and cannot be done by a single person (even though many companies insist on that being the case). The main problem of mass confusion in the company by dividing the labor clearly and effectively can show a clear increase in the quality of the final product.
Shorter turnaround times
Production can be significantly faster and free of confusion due to an implementation of Lean manufacturing. If each employee is in charge of a single part of the process, their full attention is dedicated to that process alone. Multitasking is one of the worst banes of modern corporate culture, which is why Lean can be a way out for many companies struggling with overworked employees.
Easier floor management
Depending on the type of office structure you have implemented, keeping everything in check will be far easier with Lean. The reason for this is simple – you have a clear image and understanding of who is in charge of what. Eyeballing the office and simply looking at each desk and department is far easier and faster if Lean is implemented. This results in less mistakes and confusion thanks to quicker reaction times from the floor management.
If we go back to our numbered example, we can see that the first sequence of numbers is confusing and out of order. The later represents Lean philosophy and we can clearly see the sequence of tasks being done by each employee or department.
This means that the entirety of company staff will always be involved in current projects. Dead weight, wrong job delegation and individual workflows are impossible in a Lean environment. Everyone depends on everyone else to do their job to finish the project successfully and on time.
Fewer employees on staff
While it will make your business more profitable, Lean manufacturing will also result in a lot of “dead weight” on your payroll. The compartmentalization of your office and an emphasis on cooperation and clear workflow will reveal many detractors in your company. Some people will have far less work than others while some will be workless altogether. This will leave you with two options to choose from as a CEO or a manager:
- Let some of your staff members go.
- Expand your business and attract more clients and projects.
- Higher employee satisfaction
Thanks to a clearer and more understandable workflow because of implementing Lean philosophy, your employees will be far happier with their jobs. This benefit can serve you tremendously when it comes to employee retention and overall company culture. A clear division of tasks and responsibilities means that employees will always be clear on what they are supposed to be doing, when and with whom.
It’s easy to see the benefits of implementing Lean to make your business more profitable. However, you should also understand that the process of transforming your workflow won’t happen overnight.
Some revenue loss and staff dissatisfaction might occur because of your aggressive push for a change. Once the dust settles however, your staff will realize the benefits of restructuring the company and that Lean can be a beneficial process for everyone involved.