Lean Audit

A lean audit is intended to give a snapshot of the pace or progress of the implementation of lean manufacturing and continuous improvement culture and kaizen initiatives in an organization or specific site. It is usually gauged by the level of implementation and improvement observed in a number of key lean manufacturing components which include:

Cultural Awareness
Continuous Improvement
Error proofing
Housekeeping and 5s
Standardization of work methods
Flexible production
Total productive maintenance
Inventory and supply chain management

The gauging of the progression in each of the areas above can be done using a specific scoring sytem tailored to each organization or a points system based on the progression level to each area’s goal or objective. These results are usually presented in a spider diagram to denote the score progression in each area as well as an overall score representing the lean score for the area or organization being audited.

Conducting lean audits

Lean Audits should be conducted preferably by an external third party or by a lean team which has no vested interest in the lean score or performance of the plant. It is strongly advised that the management for a certain plant, area or business not conduct the official lean audit themselves unless it is only for indication purposes only. Lean audit scores can be easily influenced by several influences such as:

-Lack of standardization of audit points and questions
-Different auditors and audit methods between audits
-Faking and preparation of areas and work methods
-Selective employee presentations and interviews
-External influences

The items above are just some influences to look for when auditing or being audit for leanmanufacturing and continuous improvement culture and initiatives as they can affect the lean audit score and the way the improvements on that particular site or business are seen.

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