“Manufacturing is more than just putting parts together. It’s coming up with ideas, testing principles and perfecting the engineering, as well as final assembly.”
- James Dyson
The manufacturing industry is one of the major industries for the growth of any country. The term ‘Lean manufacturing’ came to be known in the year 1966 majorly because of the book called ‘Lean thinking’. Toyota is largely credited for getting the idea of lean thinking acclaimed.
The concept of lean manufacturing primarily involves a constant improvement signifying growth with recognising and abiding by the principle of reduction of waste as much as possible, the ‘waste’ being anything and everything that the target customers would not be keen to purchase or pay for. It can be in terms of processes (overproduction), material (inferior quality), activities (wastage on machines) etc. It sounds pretty simple to comprehend however there are many common myths regarding lean manufacturing. What are these myths?
1. The myth about lean manufacturing being a ‘tool kit’
If at all there are tools involved in this concept, they would be all the efforts and the processes needed to point out the problem, analysis of the problem and getting rid of the problem with wise solutions. There is no ‘toolkit’ that makes lean marketing successful
2. The myth that it involves only cost reduction
Not every bud that appears would blossom into a flower. The key idea of lean manufacturing is not to reduce cost but to reduce efforts and energy that bring no results. Prioritising right is the key for any business to thrive. Lean manufacturing aims to ensure just the right efforts to the things which require the necessary attention.
3. The myth about lean manufacturing involving longer and harder work hours for employees
If tasks and processes are distributed correctly, lean manufacturing can rather lead to better work and agile efforts with unnecessary drudging hours being reduced to a bare minimum. The whole idea that quality is not compromised whatsoever might give the idea but if it is segregated properly, work load might rather be reduced to a great extent.
4. The myth of the concept being not very welcomed by employees
“All great changes are preceded by chaos.”- Anonymous
At first, the idea might sound very technique specific and time taking but so is any new idea until it takes the form of constant actions and eventually desired results.
5. The myth of lean manufacturing implying a decrease in jobs
Lean can often be confused with less. If the hierarchy is followed, not only the employees will have a constant benchmark to reach but ample jobs focusing on always doing better today than yesterday in terms of quality, quantity, time and labour.
6. The myth of lean manufacturing yielding rewards not so proportionate to cost implementation
The beginning of any new project can be a little difficult sometimes because of the elimination of routine and habits people are accustomed to. Similar is the case with this concept however researches have shown that the amount needed to adopt this model might not be as much as is initially anticipated.
7. The myth of lean manufacturing not being IT friendly
The lean manufacturing approach abides by the Japanese principle “Genchi genbustu” which basically means “go and see” in English. IT and software systems aim at making things easier and handy which can sometimes mean keeping the reality covered by a veil. This is not an approach which is appreciated much by lean manufacturing and so it is often misbelieved that computers/ IT is despised.
8. The myth that lean is successful the moment you think of it
The implementation of lean itself is a task in itself. It’s rather a process and so is growth that comes with lean because here we are necessarily talking about constant growth remember? Thus to ensure a constant growth, it should be made sure that at every step, necessary measures are taken to always go forward.
“Talent acquisition, transformation and management are critical anchors for the growth of the industry.”
Every industry has perks and perils. Lean manufacturing might seem like a difficult idea at first, only it’s not for when implemented with the required precision it can make your industry reach heights, just like it did for Toyota.