What is in this article?:
- Top Tips for Managing Lean and the Economic Upturn
- In the Upturn, Focus on Scaling Effective Processes
- It's Time for People Development
Lean is a tool for increased efficiency and doing more with less use type of resource. Lean is a proven way to cut costs and increase profitability. In the economic downturn, manufacturers have used lean principles to improve overall performance. As the economy continued to spiral downward, manufacturers went from lean to skinny, often cutting deeper than the organization could fully sustain in the long term. Organizations have gone into starvation-mode in an attempt to remain viable. These manufacturers who have most effectively managed the downturn, have done so by significant process refinement and discipline. As the manufacturing economy has roared back, we should consider how best to apply lean principles in the upturn. Below are the top tips to hit the ground running through lean processes when the economy turns around.
Remember that Lean isn't Exclusively a 'Bad Economy' Tool
The typical focus of lean is cost reduction through higher system efficiently – which translates nicely into a tool for economic downturns. As the manufacturing sector's recovery continues, having come back very rapidly in many segments, we now have trouble recruiting and training enough qualified personnel for our manufacturing organizations. In the upturn, just like the downturn, we need to do more with even less resources. If we stay true to our lean journey, we can improve process, reduce waste, and make our resources more efficient (whether the resource in question is our personnel, our machinery, or our loading docks). The upturn, aside from the obvious financial benefit, provides a secondary benefit worth noting: process stress. This process stress highlights bottlenecks and rough spots in our processes. It also spotlights areas where our processes aren’t robust enough to handle increased production volumes and market demand.