Chagrin River Consulting

Lean Enterprise
What is Lean Manufacturing?
If it's lean, it's generating a lot of interest these days. 
Lean manufacturers are said to be improving quality, improving customer service, all while reducing costs.
Is it worth the investment? 
Do lean practices really pay off? 
Can my company implement lean manufacturing?
Or is it simply a lot of marketing buzz designed to help consultants...like me...to sell services?


Lean manufacturing principles and tools can make a big difference to your manufacturing firm, whether you're a Tier One supplier to a Big Three automotive firm or a small job shop.  Simple methods like 5S, Quick Changeover, Visual Factory, Value Stream Mapping, Consistent Work Practices, and Manufacturing Cells can provide big dividends.  These methods can allow a company to increase its capabilities and capacity at the same time costs are reduced.


Lean companies are better at making and delivering high quality products and services at a lower cost than their competitors are. They respond to both positive and negative changes in the market more quickly. They introduce more products in a shorter time. They have lower inventories and they turn raw materials into cash more quickly. They do all this while increasing employee safety, health, and satisfaction.


It's important to talk about what lean is not.  It absolutely, positively is not force reduction.  It isn't just about cost reduction.  It isn't about working faster or harder.  It isn't the old "time and motion study" approach to improving productivity.  It certainly isn't a magic wand or a panacea.  It does, however, take a long time to implement and it does require a substantial change in practice and culture.

Not all companies have learned how to implement lean manufacturing well but the companies that are successful have a strategic advantage over their competitors.
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