Identifying need for Operations improvement and lean implementation resources

Implementing lean or many of the lean manufacturing techniques in an organization which has never seen these concept before can be a very labor and strategically intensive task. What will be the lean/continuous improvement implementation strategy? How will management endeavour to change culture? And most importantly who will do what and what is required to complete the lean journey and achieve the set goals and level of operational efficiency.

It is amazing how many managers only consider the objectives the organization "needs" to achieve and assume that staff in regular roles with extra minor resourcing can achieve these. Strategies of continuous improvement built on this type of management mind frame will achieve little and over burden staff who in many cases will not fully understand what is expected from their roles and participation in lean manufacturing and continuous improvement initiatives.

The key to the success of lean manufacturing and continuous improvement initiatives is the appropriate resourcing of all departments and areas that will be involved and focused on delivering tangible improvements. Resourcing may include:

-A dedicted lean or continuous improvement team to develop the strategy and provide support to the operations and business management team
-Dedicated process engineers or continuous improvement leaders to lead and carry out most of the improvement activities in conjunction with the advice and guidance of plant and process staff
-Financial resources for training, updating plant, implement new technology, process re-engineering, housekeeping/5S, consulting and support personnel and other requirements

Resourcing requirements should be well considered as the organization still needs to operate its day to day operations/business and also commence focused projects in lean manufacturing implementation and kaizen initiatives. This will initially require more human and intellectual resources in order to start the improvement journey. Longer term when continuous improvement and lean techniques are embedded within the organization and processes the original staff will have learnt throughout the improvement journey and doing things efficiently will be part of their culture within the organization. At the point operational efficiency, the minimization and elimination of waste, visual management and high housekeeping standards will be the way business is done.

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