In the dynamic world of today, almost all businesses are facing the challenges of how to accommodate fast-changing market demands and flexibility requirements to maintain their market leader positions. Maintaining a high level of FLEXIBILITY and being able to create GROWTH in today’s markets are basic requirements for all EMS companies. One of the answers is the creation of a LEAN implementation roadmap, your own business system of continuous improvement, which brings long-term sustainable results.
LEAN implementation results – just to mention a few:
- Stabilization of deliveries to the market with NO quality claims or on-time-to-request problems
- Fast lead times to market to ensure customers that they can outperform the market competition
- Flexibility of your own supply chain and operation so it can quickly react to changes in market demand
- Fast reaction times by the whole enterprise to standard market changes
The question that every business is confronted with is HOW to begin to create the LEAN roadmap to secure success. Here is a basic roadmap for professionals, whether you choose an external consulting company or decide to start internally.
Always start with the commitment of management:
The decision to incorporate LEAN usually happens after admitting that the success of your business demands it and finding that one or more of the above-mentioned business rules needs to be substantially improved. Start by appointing a LEAN organization within your business and allocate resources. Everyone will need to get involved and the leaders will need to be LEAN champions.
Analyze your business data:
You need to understand where your business has the largest opportunities and focus there. For example, if you have a company that produces 100 different products, you can build a product quantity/process routing analysis. By grouping products it becomes easier to see which of those products, and how many of them, make the greatest impact on your business. It could be that out of five product families, two of them comprise more than 75% of your business. Just by analyzing and making changes to accommodate your large impact areas can result in resolving a large part of your optimization challenge.
Create a value stream map of the product families:
We know the WHAT to tackle with LEAN. Now the question is HOW. Always initiate the process with a value stream map. Make a detailed process and communication map for how you presently build the product family. The map should contain details on cycle times for all the process steps, supply chain challenges, work in process (WIP) and finished goods stock locations, quality challenges, on-time-to-request (OTTR) issues with the customer, and disparities in demand. These details provide a comprehensive view of the potential challenges within the system. When the value stream map is laid out and the process details are examined from beginning to end, most teams end up having an AHA! moment. When you see issues such as 10 million Euros worth of sales being held up by a couple of components that are regularly missing or a bottleneck caused by an old assembly machine, the problem becomes something that can be attacked and resolved.
Once the process is understood, it becomes easier to brainstorm how to streamline the process and build the desired future state map for optimizing the way to build the product family. Then, the team just needs to understand what activities need to be performed and detail them in an action plan which bridges the gap between the current and future states.
Implementation of improvement actions:
Value stream mapping is the roadmap for the transformation of the product family. The real business impact starts with the implementation of the action plan. 5S, standard work, creation of material pull systems with both customer and suppliers, transactional process improvement activities and their implementation, and sustainment for several months without exceptions are the keys for a SUCCESSFUL TRANSFORMATION with BUSINESS IMPACT.
The next steps:
It is very important for the organization not to jump into too many LEAN activities in parallel. First, the above Value Stream Transformation of the pilot family needs to be closed; the organization must understand the successes and evaluate the process. Then, when the future state is stable, the organization can move on to the next product family or process.
Are you interested?
Visit us at our facilities to benchmark your process using our transformation examples. Click here firstname.lastname@example.org for a benchmark request (For Industrial OEMs only).