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January 2005

Getting Started with Lean Manufacturing

Fatten Up the Bottom Line with Lean

by Ray Mikulak

Lean is a philosophy of eliminating non-value-adding operations, equipment, and resources. Anything that does not add value is waste. The Lean Mantra is “Produce the right products and provide the right services at the required time in the required quantities with consistency and predictability.” With the elimination of waste, customer satisfaction soars and the bottom line grows.

Waste can be considered as any activity or resource in an organization that does not add value to an external customer. Lean organizations use the 8 components of lean (Streamline the Value Stream, the 5S’s, Predictability & Consistency, Set-Up Reduction, Total Productive Maintenance, Visual Workplace, Lean Support Processes, and Continuous Improvement to rid processes of the 7 wastes (waiting, transportation, processing itself, motion, poor “quality,” inventory, and overproduction).

Ray Mikulak is president of Resource Engineering, Inc.  You can contact him at 1-800-810-8326 or 1-802-496-5888 or by e-mail.


Lean Pitfalls - Where Organizations Go Wrong?
  1. Not documenting the financial impact/savings.

  2. Lack of commitment from leadership.

  3. Not changing scheduling techniques.

  4. Using traditional purchasing practices.

  5. Failure to address workforce issues.

  6. Not really mistake-proofing the root cause.

  7. Thinking lean is just for manufacturing processes.

  8. Not using beneficial technology.

  9. Not leveraging successes.

  10. Permitting an NIH mindset to exist.

  11. Getting too lean.

  12. Failing to hold the gains.


Product Focus from Carolyn Burke

Lean Manufacturing Web- and Computer-Based Training

Many aspects of lean are counterintuitive to traditional manufacturing thinking and practices. It is vital that organizations adopting a lean approach understand the scope, the many elements, and the potential pitfalls of lean. This Lean Manufacturing CBT program is designed to help your organization understand the scope of a lean effort, provide valuable insight into lean practices and techniques, and suggest planning tips for an implementation roadmap.

The Lean Manufacturing course consists of three units: Lean Concepts, Lean Practices, and Implementing Lean. Each unit contains lessons to divide the content into manageable learning segments. At the end of each unit, learners have access to a Challenge to test their comprehension of the body of knowledge covered in the unit.

Want to try out a free Lean Manufacturing training lesson? Click here.

Carolyn Burke is Sr. Customer Service Representative.  She can be reached toll free directly at 866-791-1003 or by e-mail.


What's New?  Check out our new Lean Manufacturing Resource Center.  It's FREE and has lots of helpful information, forms, and tips for implementing and sustaining a successful Lean Manufacturing initiative.


Quality Quandary

Lean or Six Sigma?

Lean and Six Sigma are complementary philosophies. The difference in Lean and Six Sigma lie primarily in the focus. The elimination of waste with Lean is fairly similar to the reduction of variation in Six Sigma. However, Lean’s focus on improving workflows is perhaps the main differentiator. By focusing on the workflows, lean efforts ensure that non-value-adding aspects are removed from the value stream.

Lean efforts help make sure that we are doing the right things. Six Sigma initiatives help make sure we are doing the right things right.

Click here to go to our Lean Resource Center to find out which approach we think is best for your company - what we have to say might surprise you.

Robin's Training Tip

Tips to Assure You Complete Your Training

Flexibility, convenience, self-direction, cost-effectiveness - these are just some of the advantages of web- and computer-based training over traditional classroom training.  But, with all of the benefits, comes one big challenge - staying motivated to complete the training.  It's not that the training isn't important or interesting, but unlike classroom training that is fairly passive learning (all you have to do is show up and typically it is up to the trainer to take it from there) web-based training takes discipline and personal motivation.  So, how to you "motivate" yourself to start, take, and complete web-based training?

1.  Figure out how long the training takes and how much time you have to complete it and use that as the basis of your schedule.  (Click here for estimated hours for each of our courses.) 

2.  Set aside at least 20 minutes per training session - anything less than that doesn't give you enough time to get into the training flow.  Don't plan on spending more than 45 to 60 minutes per session.

3.  Try to create a quiet learning environment that allows you to focus on the training.  It might be best to schedule the training for early in the morning or late in the day when there are less distractions, phone calls, e-mails, etc.

4.  Move through the training based on your learning needs and prior knowledge.  If you already know the material, but just need a refresher, you can move through the training more quickly.  That is the beauty of WBT - you go through it at your pace, not the pace of the instructor.

Robin McDermott is director of training for Resource Engineering, Inc.  You can contact her at 1-800-810-8326 or 1-802-496-5888 or by e-mail.


Specials for January 2005

Did You Know?  Each of our web-based courses comes with an online copy of the accompanying Reference Guide.  Learners find this helpful as they go through the training and also as a handy resource that is always available after the training.


FREE Reference Guide  Buy a Five Pack of any of our Reference Guides and get a complimentary copy of our Lean Manufacturing Guide.  Buy Reference Guides now.

NEW!  LAN-Based Training Libraries include four complementary courses, one Power User License, and 10 Reference Guides for each of the four courses. This is a $5,378 value for $3,999.  More Information

Go to the QualityTrainingPortal online Store

© 2016 Resource Engineering, Inc. All rights reserved. Please contact the editor with comments about this newsletter