Operations consulting and training programs

Lean Thinking

When one hears the term “Lean” they should think of Toyota. Lean Thinking is based on the concepts from the Toyota Production System developed by Eiji Toyoda and Taiichi Ohno in the 1950s. The term Lean production was first used in an academic research paper published by John Krafcik in 1988 in an MIT Sloan Management Review article based on the Toyota Production System entitled “Triumph of the Lean Production System”. Lean Thinking is comprised of a few key philosophies:

  • Respecting people and working to continuously improve workplace conditions/efficiency
  • Fully developing both management and operational systems
  • Focusing on the culture

Lean is not just about teaching tools like 6S and Standard Work, but instead it is about fostering a culture shift throughout the entire organization by changing the way everyone thinks. Lean Thinking will drive behaviors, and behaviors will drive results. There are several key focus areas of Lean Thinking:

  • Increase value to the customer
  • Eliminate waste
  • Respect people
  • Continuously improve

Lean Thinking is often applied to high volume manufacturing, but it can be applied to any process or system. Lean Thinking can be applied at work, at home and anywhere in between. In order to increase value to the customer one must understand the attributes of a value added activity. For an activity to be Value Added it must meet three criteria:

  1. Something the customer wants; is willing to pay for
  2. Alters the product or process output
  3. Must be done right the first time

If an activity does not meet all three criteria, it is considered waste. Elimination of waste is another key focus area of Lean Thinking. Waste elimination is a philosophy which helps to shorten the time between receipt of customer order and product shipment. One can think of it as shortening the time between paying for raw materials to the time you get paid by your customer. In order to eliminate waste, one needs to be able to see waste. To clearly see waste, we can use the acronym TIMWOODS to remember the eight wastes: Transportation (material, information), Inventory, Motion (people), Waiting, Overproduction, Over-processing, Defects, and Skills (not using or underutilizing).

Respect for people is another key Lean focus area and is about focusing on making it easier for people to do their jobs. By eliminating waste and spending more time on value added work, employees are more productive and the business thrives. Leadership needs to foster an environment whereby their guidance and support enables employees to make improvements continuously. Leadership is not a title; it’s an act. The essential purpose of a leader is to create change. Leaders create the vision for the future; the vehicle to deliver it is Lean Thinking. While managers maintain the status quo, leaders create change to move the organization forward.

Under the guidance of the QSG Lean Operations Team, you will master and implement the practice of Lean Thinking at your organization.

Quality Support Group (QSG) offers a full range of consulting and training services, including:

Acceptance Sampling
Basic Quality Tools for Process Improvement
Creating Manufacturing Cells Workshop
Data Mining – Basic
Data Mining – Intermediate
Data Mining – Advanced
Forecasting and Time Series Analysis
Implementing a KanBan Pull System
Lean Business Simulation©
Lean Manufacturing Basics
Six Sigma Black Belt
Six Sigma Green Belt
Six Sigma Yellow Belt (DMAIC Overview)
Measurement System Analysis (MSA) for Accuracy, Tool Matching, and Stability
Measurement System Analysis (MSA) for Gauge R&R
Process Mapping
Single-Minute Exchange of Die (SMED)
Standard Work Documentation
Training Within Industry (TWI) Job Instruction (JI)
Value Stream Mapping (VSM)

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