Lean Manufacturing

We have helped Manufacturers in sectors as diverse as Food & Beverage, Pharmaceuticals, Automotive, Printing, Defence, Electronics & Building Materials to improve their processes and implement lean thinking in their business. This section tells you a little about our approach.

Whether your company is just starting its lean journey, or has been using lean thinking for some time but it could use a boost, we at Lean FSL have an approach that will help you successfully implement lean in your business.

Many manufacturers are convinced that lean doesn’t apply to their sector, that there customer base or market conditions mean that the fundamental principles of lean do not apply to them. This is often due to bad experiences with previous deployments of lean, which has been sold as a ‘one size fits all’ solution to problems. Our approach works with companies to understand their customer needs and behaviours, and to tailor our approach to ensure that whilst customer value is paramount we don’t lose sight of applying lean principles in areas of the business where the need is greatest.

Lean FSL have many years’ experience in helping manufacturers structure and implement lean programmes that focus improvement activity where benefit can be maximised, whilst embedding the knowledge we have in lean and kaizen techniques in all levels of the organisation. The process engages with all levels of the organisation, and never confines itself to the narrow boundaries of a manufacturer’s shopfloor!

We use Value Stream Identification & Mapping (VSI & VSM) as our key engagement tool. This helps Senior Teams to see the waste and the opportunity in their business, and helps build a roadmap for the future deployment of lean.

From that initial map, we help identify the areas of the business that require immediate improvement, and work through facilitated kaizen events with the client’s own people, to improve processes and to eliminate waste. The key stages of this improvement phase are:

MAKE VALUE FLOW -> This can take many forms in a manufacturing company from batch size reduction, changeover time reduction, less inventory, more frequent deliveries through to changing the way the production is planned or the introduction of cellular manufacturing. The VSM exercise shows us where Flow is poor, and highlights the potential benefit of improving the flow of value in the business.

SYNCHRONISE YOUR PROCESS STEPS -> There’s little point making isolated improvements in your process to just move inventory from one step to another. With our help we can help businesses to understand their customer demand, and use this to generate the drum beat within your business that all steps in the process can follow (this is the ‘takt time’ in lean terms). Furthermore, we can show manufacturers how to ensure that their process stay closely synchronised by managing the flow in their business through visual controls and balancing their capacity to demand through flexible work teams.

LEVEL YOUR DEMAND -> Most manufacturing businesses assume that to be lean they need to be completely flexible in their operations to cope with huge fluctuations in demand. What is often misunderstood is that batching of work in planning systems often artificially creates these wild swings in demand, and that ‘true customer demand’ is often far more stable than people would imagine. Once we have established Synchronised Flow in your business we can help you to understand how by Levelling demand you can really start to drive out waste and save cost in your business. Again our Value Stream Map shows us where to apply this thinking, and we make extensive use of a tool called the ‘Glenday Sieve’ to help us and you understand the true picture of customer demand.

The final part of our lean model focusses on people development. By adopting a lean approach you quickly start to surface problems and barriers that have to be tackled. To do this you need people in your organisation to become ‘problem-solvers’, otherwise the waste that was hiding these issues creeps back in. We coach and train your people to see waste, and to give them the structured problem-solving methods that help them to solve their own problems and become your internal lean thinkers of the future!

Contact us today, using the details below, to arrange a visit to your site and learn more about how Lean FSL will be able to help you.