Creating a Lean Implementation Plan

A while back, I posed about Lean Manufacturing Principles. Today I wanted to go a little bit more in depth with how you can prepare a Lean implementation plan.

First of all, let’s take a look at what exactly a lean implementation plan is. A lean implementation plan is how you are going to bring about making your business more lean. This sounds like it should be easy, but there are actually a number of problems with actually implementing lean manufacturing. As Wikipedia says, “The discipline required to implement Lean and the disciplines it seems to require are so often counter-cultural that they have made successful implementation of Lean a major challenge.”

So, if it’s so difficult to implement, how can you create a successful plan?

First, you need to remember that there two aspects that you need to focus on. The first is the actual hardware portion: the machinery, equipment, etc. The second is the human aspect. Just improving one of these aspects will not result in a successful lean implementation – you need both. Once you realize that, you can really start with your implementation plan.

Firstly, you want to focus on everything that is absolutely necessary to run an effective system – this is where all of the big changes are made.

Next, you want to build upon what you did when you made those big changes – this would include implementing the 5S system, for example.

Lastly, you want to work on continuous improvement, where numerous small changes are constantly being made.

Doesn’t sound too difficult, but it’s always more challenging to actually implement the plan than it is to make it. Remember that if you find something in your plan is not working as you would like it to, that your plan is not set in stone – if you find something isn’t working, then revisit that part of the plan. Is it feasible? Is there another way to get to your goals?

What have you been doing for your lean implementation plan?

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