Lean Certification Is an Integrated Approach to Cutting Costs While Growing a Business
The principles of lean certification affect all departments inside a business. Lean certification differs from Six Sigma certification in that the latter tends to focus on design and implementation within the technical departments of a business. While this is effective, lean training takes the employee to all parts of the company, and looks for ways to transform everything from purchasing, to finance, to accounting, and management.
An example of how this type of planning affects all departments equally is in the structure of cellular design. In manufacturing, grouping one portion of the production line into an identifiable block of machines and personnel is a typical design for a module. In a business department, taking an identifiable group of employees and charging them with a specific task is a way of creating a cell in that department. Creating cells in all departments makes operational tasks happen quicker, and allows for growth and movement within the company to take place in a more efficient manner.
Another important tenant in the lean manufacturing program is scheduling.
Scheduling covers everything from measuring customer demand, to planning unit production output, to order parts at the correct pace. Putting lean techniques in each department with respect to scheduling is an important goal. On the production line, lean scheduling means that each cell is responsible to gauge its demands by having input from other modules in the production line constantly feeding them data. They can also have direct input from marketing so they are aware of the demand taking place outside the walls of their plant, as well.
In the business department, using lean techniques to plan their scheduling also means that they need direct input from many sources concerning demand. After they are correctly arranged in a modular format, each cell is charged with locating sources of data and feedback on demand, output, and quality of items that their cell has responsibility to fulfill. In this manner, the communication path is short and response time is quick. They are also able to arrange for their own feedback so they can make adjustments within their own cell to increase their efficiency.
Using the same tools throughout an organization, a lean certified group is able to transform a company completely and make it able to grow and still keep costs under control. Often when a company is expanding in the production area, efficiencies that result in other departments can be directly tied to the growth in production. Upper management is then able to realize the full worth of the lean techniques, by seeing one area cut costs in response to growth in another part of their business.