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Six Steps for Implementing Lean Processes

  • Bud T. Miller
July/August 2017
This article is a sidebar to "Superior Lean Strategies in Aerospace."

  1. Outline efficiency goals. To implement lean processes properly, first identify business goals. Is the objective to reduce product surplus or improve order processing times? Is it to enhance customer experiences? No matter the goal, it must be clearly outlined.
  2. Evaluate existing processes. Process evaluation is the backbone of a successful lean model. This step enables the identification of impediments to the goals. An outside observer with a fresh perspective can be a very helpful management tool in identifying potential issues.
  3. Garner feedback from the source. Part of the evaluation process is retrieving information from employees on the front lines. By asking workers to regularly report impediments to performance, it’s possible to quickly learn where the waste occurs.
  4. Make changes toward efficiency. Once areas of waste are identified, implement immediate changes. The organization should not be so bureaucratic that it makes improvements difficult. If it is, that may be one area of waste to improve.
  5. Implement a simple process for quality control. Lean is not a one time procedure for fixing problems. Successful use of the model requires regular evaluation of internal configurations and the freedom for management and employees to make simple, ongoing changes toward efficiency improvements.
  6. Repeat regularly. Lean is a truly simple process that can result in substantial improvements to efficiency and, ultimately, profitability. Following the model’s standards of continuous improvement will bring about an optimal supply chain. 

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