Lean Manufacturing Teams

Lean manufacturing or process improvement teams are an integral part of any operations team whether they exist as a separate entity or are composed of the same operations managers and team members. Their objectives should be the same, which is to achieve improvements in operations, business efficiency, and achieve a competitive advantage across the supply chain and the business. They also research and learn about best practices in their industry and how to achieve these by using the many concepts and techniques of lean manufacturing and lean philosophy. Their place within the operations team allows effective communication and sync between the different sub-departments and continuous learning for the benefit of the business.

Common traits of a lean manufacturing/continuous improvement team member

The following list highlights the strengths that a lean manufacturing or process improvement team member should exhibit, no matter weather it's a team leader or senior management position

-Thirst for knowledge
-Experience in the relevant industry the business operates
-Knowledge in the process and operations of the business
-Ability to coach and mentor other team members
-Education: tertiary or relevant process engineering, Industrial or manufacturing engineering, process management/control, business, supply chain or management qualifications.

Individuals who exhibit the majority of these characteristics will have the ability to take on a lean, process improvement, or continuous improvement role within the business.

Structures to lean or continuous improvement(CI) team

The following structure is for a dedicated Lean manufacturing/comtinuous improvement team which ususally provides support to all departments in the business regarding lean manufacturing practices and continuous improvement, (Affiliate to team): means the positions do not generally report to the Lean/CI managers directly:

-Business development manager/ Buisness operations manager
- Lean champion / Continuous Improvement Manager/ Lean manager
      - Process engineers, Industrial Engineer
      -Continuos improvement engineers
      -Industrial/Production engineers

In a smaller business or one without the capacity to support a continuous improvement or lean function separately the lean roles mentioned above can be filled by the following common positions present in most regular businesses:

-Business development manager/ Buisness operations manager/ Supply chain or Distribution manager:
      Business Owner, CEO, or managing director, Operations manager
- Lean champion/ Continuous Improvement Manager/ Lean manager
      Operations manager, factory foreman, store manage, team leader
-Process engineers/Continuos improvement engineers
      IndustrMechanical/industrial engineers
      Production team leaders
      Factory Foreman
      Senior operator

These structures can also be used in service based or service industry environments and offices as the lean techniques and concepts will be the same but the application will be slightly different and will need the same support as in a manufacturing environment to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage within business operations. The lean team also leads high level analysis such as FMEA's and potential risks analysis as part of their continuous improvement initiatives.

          More lean concepts and terms