What can you expect when you hire the most competent lean consulting firm?

The process of identifying the best lean Consulting firm has become a complicated task in these days. Various types of consultancy firms have come up with different types of offers and choosing the best one from the plethora of consultants available definitely needs great preparation and planning. When you become successful in identifying the best lean consulting firm, the business potential of the operational environment will undergo tremendous transformation. Achieving sustainable advances will become a reality and the operational cost will come down significantly as well.

The existing corporate landscape has become really complex and several factors contribute towards this situation. Shareholders always look for more profit and customers are always on the lookout for best products and services. Employees always search for increased job satisfaction and the authorities always lay down highly complicated rules and regulations as well. In such a situation, a competent lean consulting firm will offer these benefits: 

1) Businesses will be able to enjoy optimized inventory. 

2) Improvements in productivity will become a reality.

3) Cost reduction can be achieved with great efficiency.

4) Planning stabilization will become a hassle free process.

5) Businesses will come to know how to balance workload in the best manner.

6) Reduced lead time can be achieved.

7) Changeover time will get reduced in a significant manner. 

8) The underlying reason of every problem will be analyzed to make the process of problem solving uncomplicated. 

9) Employee engagement will reach new heights. 

10) Procurement optimization will become a hassle process.

11) Optimal improvement in customer satisfaction can be achieved.

All these benefits will lead to improved overall efficiency and businesses will be able to enjoy increased profitability as well. Most businesses have realized that hiring the best lean consulting firm will equip them to handle all complications associated with the present corporate landscape because quality professionals will always ensure meaningful improvement in any type of business organization.  

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The Top 5 Lean Management Principles

All companies started from scratch at some point. The difference between the ones that succeeded and the ones that fail is their internal Lean management principles, reducing costs, improving product value and maximizing the profit margin. To make the most of it, five major principles need to be strictly applied in all organization.

1. Motivation Trough Vision
An idea must not be taken for granted. It there is reason to believe that it can be improved then it must be improved. It needs to be discussed with others, elaborated, detailed and changed to suit the business needs. The more people know about it the better.
2. Set Objectives Objectively
Everyone should be involved in the project if it is relevant for them. Ideas should not be stolen, competition should not be spied on and creative and original think should be heavily endorsed and rewarded.
3. Conversion Measurement
No improvement can be taken seriously into consideration if there are no metrics that can track it. There needs to be a measurable way of proving that the Lean project can save time or money in one way or another.
4. Experimental Development
Taking an idea directly off the paper and onto the live production process is not a recommended practice. The performance of an improvement needs to be tracked, measured and compared with previous results before it was tested.
5. Team Involvement
The team needs to be actively involved in the development process. Everyone needs to be informed, they should test and even come with ideas for the improvement. Each contribution can be reflected in the final result and measured with the aid of metrics of KPIs.

Lean projects are generally highly appreciated throughout all companies that adopted this philosophy. Most of them developed special incentive programs to reward the ones that can help the company eliminate waste. Lean management is an important part of the process and without it, nobody would even bother to find an improvement idea.

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Understanding The Kaizen Philosophy

For the Japanese, Kaizen stands for “change for the better” or “improvement”. This Asian word turned into a global philosophy across most small, medium and large organization as its principles can be applied in almost every industry, every type of organization and every environment.

Part of the Lean methodology, these smaller projects focus more on the human aspect of a process. It endorses the participation of more individuals into the improvement process, rewarding and stimulating creative thinking and humanizing the workplace in an attempt to eliminate hard work and waste. Organizations that focus on this business philosophy, employees are encouraged to experiment and try different things on their work using various scientific methods, documenting the entire improvement process. Every single idea that manages to save money, reduce work time on certain tasks or just minimize errors can be considered a Kaizen project. There are no restrictions in terms of level of organization as anyone can create such a project.

In general, such small projects tend to have smaller impact over a business. It can be an improvement that affects only a process, a department or a small part of a company location. When the project moves up in scale and proves to be applicable at an organization-wide level, it can be converted into a Lean project. In modern usage, these projects tend to address various issues over a period of seven days or a full working week.

As a good practice, such projects should be properly documented. Each change that can improve a process and reduce waste should be paired with a detailed business case and analysis that provides a clear picture of the gains of moving the improvement from the testing stage to the live production environment. This can be translated into money saved, work hours saved or even manpower reduction. Kaizen projects can be used to fee up the load which can lead to reallocation of human resources to other projects.

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Why Adopting The Six Sigma Doctrine Is A Must

After an economical melt down just a few years ago, cost reduction is the main problem on every manager’s agenda. Six Sigma methodologies started to become a must for all organizations that want to survive. Before the economical collapse, everyone was making a profit and nobody cared about the waste created by inefficient processes but this bad habit has to change in order to be able to survive.

Even if there would not be any financial concerns regarding wasteful operations, there is no reason why not to adopt the Six Sigma doctrine. Developed in 1981 by Motorola, the methodology focuses on achieving measurable and quantifiable financial returns from every project approved. To aid and stimulate everyone to contribute and develop their own projects, the philosophy behind emphasizes on the importance of passionate management teams, good leadership and continuous support.

The infrastructure and design of the doctrine involves multiple rankings that are awarded to the ones that develop successful projects such as “Green Belt”, “Black Belt”, “Master Black Belt”, “Champions” and so on. Higher rankings are usually awarded to the ones that developed multiple projects and have the skills to guide others are well. Their commitment and decision making skills facilitates the communication and innovation of the ones who are still developing their projects. Also, they have the ability to make the right calls in terms of how viable a project is and the financial benefits of putting it in practice. To achieve this, Six Sigma projects are measured using two tools bearing different acronyms. DMAIC and DMADV define the phases of evaluation and implementation of a project from start to finish. Both models include data analysis, definition of the goals, measurement or data, improvements and optimizations, implementation and verification of the results. These two development and implementation phases of all Six Sigma projects are usually detailed in seminars and research books.

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Lean Manufacturing Described By “The Machine That Changed The World”

The very first time that the term “Lean” was introduced was back in 1988 when John Karfcik covered an article about manufacturing based on his experience as a quality engineer for Toyota. The methodology was detailed for the first time in the book called “The Machine That Changed the World” and since then, manufacturing changed completely in both vision and execution of products and services.

At the very foundation of this philosophy, two main principles stand as standard for all production environments. The JIT or Just-in-time concept focuses on building a seamless system in which one stage of a production is never stopped because the previous one is stalling. Also, no excess material is produced during any given stage.

The second pillar of the Lean philosophy is “automation”. All business entities have to deal with the human error factor. In most situations, the reason for stalling of a system, waste and excess material is the human error. When a production system begins to implement more automated processes, error occurrences start to diminish. Intelligent systems need to be developed to monitor abnormal behaviors of equipments or anomalies in production. This approach causes the human resources to intervene only when something malfunctions instead of monitoring when production is normal.

More recent papers on Lean manufacturing talk about the true essence of the philosophy and the wrong turn it can take. A company’s management should not consider wage cuts or worker discharges as part of a Lean project as this can have negative consequences. Workers can lose faith and abandon their loyalty to the company which can backfire and reduce productivity thus voiding the entire effort to implement a Lean project.

Most of these approaches, dos and don’ts and general philosophy ideas are detailed in “The Machine That Changed The World”. The book itself managed to get Lean manufacturing spread on a worldwide level with millions of copies.

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