Human Side Of Lean Manufacturing

July 26, 2019 Off By Soham Collins

I was able to be a part of a tour of the Siemens plant off GA 400 in Cumming, Georgia.. Siemens is a global company that specializes in meeting the needs of clients by offering various services including producing and assembling products to their client’s specifications. This particular Siemens location is a 170,000 square foot facility that was acquired in 1990. The facility was expanded in 1993 and also in 1996. The GA 400 Siemens facility has approximately 650 employees in various fields including general warehouse to accounting and marketing.

Here’s a simple way to plant teamwork mindset in your company: create events that involve all your employees, such as sport tournament, music and dance events, team contests, etc.

J&J’s CIO decided to implement a program based on the ITIL. Now mind you, this is not some silver-bullet magic cure-all. Instead, the ITIL can help with specific parts of running an IT shop. Specifically if you go about implementing ITIL correctly, your IT department can boost the quality of service that it is providing to the rest of the company.

If an industry is in transformation making process changes isn’t going to do much. It’s like Nero fiddling while Rome burnt to the ground. If we want to make huge transformations in our business we’ll have to focus on what we are ‘being’, in order to achieve the results we are focused on. In order to counter the threat of Apple IBM had to transform it’s business model. It had to be in the PC market. While it was in the Computer market generally it wasn’t at that point in the PC market. It had to cahnge the way it operated to counter Apple’s strategy and success. Or go away like many older businesses that could not transform themselves. No small changes there! IBM did and it survived to compete, and it’s still in the game growing stronger every day. COuld your organization do the same?

During a materiales lean implementation we were about to roll-out some visual management tools. These tools were manual process boards, which required updating every hour. The plant was extremely resistant to the idea because, “our people don’t have the time” and “we have computers for that.” Through the power of persuasion we were able to get them to try these boards. So just think about this for a minute. The entire plant wants nothing to do with this visual management system. But we feel very strongly that it’s critical to their success. Our team stepped back and analyzed what our approach would be, and in the end we focused all of our efforts on changing the culture. Here’s how…

If you do not have any idea of where to start, then improve the productivity of your employees. Do some research inside your factory about the productivity of your employees. How many times they idled because of equipments breakdown? Which process of production that are the slowest?

To me this is the easiest of the 4 steps, but a lot of folks struggle. They expect everyone to be experts on day one. In true lean fashion you should strive for perfection, but this is no time to send people to the wood shed for messing up. This is where the rubber meets the road for the leadership team. It’s time for you to do your job. Teach, coach, mentor, etc. you want to use this time to build the capability of your people so they can execute the system flawlessly. Reward proper behavior, address the things that are going wrong, but don’t beat people up over it. If you do it right, you’ll come in one day and realize that suddenly everything just works… And it’s at that point that you’ve changed the culture.