There are many different tactics or strategies your manufacturing business could use to streamline process and increase efficiencies of shop performance. In addition to exploring concepts like Six Sigma and Kaizen, your company could benefit greatly from working with a strategic business services company that specializes in Lean consulting.
Lean practices are based on the principles of elimination of waste and continuous improvement, with the belief that even in small efficiencies will add up to significant cost savings over time. Wasteful components or procedures that increase process cycles in a business workflow increase unnecessary expenses and make organizations less efficient. Lean practices help reduce process wastes and increase efficiency.
But in order to achieve Lean, a company must first embrace Lean practices, and hiring a company that specializes in Lean consulting is the first step in the pathway towards finding these efficiencies. Only then can your company begin to improve customer satisfaction and most importantly, grow your bottom line.
The Need for Lean Consulting
One of the best reasons to implement a Lean consulting strategy is that Lean experts will be able to spot inefficiencies in your business workflow better than internal warehouse managers and workers will be able to do on their own. Deviations from process will be more obvious to an outsider, whereas internal managers may not notice them if they have become routine.
Andy Pratico, Synergy Resources’ business development manager, likes to describe the concept of Lean in the following fashion:
“Picture a barn. Now picture cows going in the barn. When you see the cows going toward the barn they don’t necessarily go in a straight line. They mosey. They mosey to the left and eat some grass and they mosey to the right and drink some water. Eventually they make it into the barn and go to sleep. You’d think logically they’d go straight in, but they don’t.”
Having spent the past 33 years working with hundreds of manufacturers all over North America, Pratico says the simple concept of cow’s moseying into a barn is the perfect metaphor for the inefficient processes or deviations from standard processes that can lead a company to need Lean consulting services.
Inefficiencies often develop over time, as a company structure experiences change—such as growth in personnel, product offerings and jobs. Companies that fail to account for these changes and adjust their processes accordingly are left to mosey.
These small changes in company structure or process create layers of what Pratico calls constraints. These constraints compound the complexity within the operation and in turn can result in a company to find a work-around, which leads to inefficient processes—aka moseying.
The Long-Term Impact of Lean Consulting
Many companies make the mistake of implementing work-arounds that simply solve for the short term, without any regard for the future.
Companies that are focused on the Lean principle of continual improvement will address changes head-on with the help of a Lean consulting service. Instead of finding a temporary work-around that develops into a long-term inefficiency, they can adjust the process to address these new constraints with a better long-term solution.
However, if your company is considering implementing Lean, don’t just assume it will be a one and done type of scenario. It’s quite the contrary actually.
The Lean concept is and should be synonymous with continuous improvement, or as Pratico likes to say, “It’s not a destination, it’s a journey.”
Implemented properly, Lean can help you achieve the following:
- Greater productivity
- Greater throughput
- Improved quality
- Reduced cycle times
- Smoother operation
- Reduced operating costs
- Reduced waste
Lean and ERP: An Unstoppable Force
Many companies think buying an ERP software will help them sort out all of the inefficiencies in their shop performance. While ERP is an effective solution, Pratico believes it’s really only part of the solution.
“ERP is only a tool, Lean helps sharpen the tool,” says Pratico.
Instead of thinking of each solution individually, ERP and Lean should go hand in hand. Unless you implement Lean along with ERP you’re never going to get the benefits you’re looking for.
Many business owners make the error of assuming that once they have reached the optimum level of process efficiency; they can now sit back and relax. But as you can see, a commitment to Lean means a commitment to continuous improvement. Lean simplifies your process and gets rid of waste. And the simpler your operation is, the easier it is to keep it streamlined. Don’t wait until things get too complex. Proactively implementing Lean strategies can prevent you from headaches later on.
Synergy Resources’ continuous improvement services team offers Lean consulting that can help you define the persistent problems your organization is facing and resolve them before it’s too late. It is important to apply the appropriate solution when it is required the most. Contact us today to find out how your organization can achieve continuous improvement in the most cost-effective and well-planned manner.