Lean tools are critical tools used in improving production and efficiency of operation by optimizing the few resources available. Four of such tools are as mentioned below. Let’s take a look:
1. Kaizen: This is one of the lean tools that places so much emphasis on continuous improvement in quality, processes, technology, productivity, safety, and company culture. What kaizen does is that it leverages ingenuities of all the team members for growth. Meaning, suggestions could emanate from any angle of the business, such as procurement, management, logistics, finance, production, etc.
Kaizen has been employed in planning events. This type of event targets specific areas that need improvement, and necessary effort is put in place to achieve such within one or two weeks. You can use kaizen events to get people on board quickly, as this method works like magic.
2. The 5s: this is another lean tool that is carefully designed to improve efficiency through its systematical approach to organization and cleanliness at the workplace. As you may have guessed, this system uses five guidelines, which brought about the name of the system, 5s. They are sort, set, shine, standardize, and sustain. These are explained below:
• Sort: It removes unnecessary items from each work area.
• Set: it particularly customizes each work area to maximize efficiency.
• Shine: it takes time by cleaning each work area after every shift to eliminate slight issues that may arise before it becomes a challenge.
• Standardize: it documents every progress made as this can be applied in the other work areas.
• Sustain: it ensures consistency for the purpose of continuous improvement.
3. Value Stream Mapping: value stream mapping is a visual lean tool that helps firms optimizes their production. It is used in analyzing the current process, highlight problems, and develop solutions for a system-wide change. It also provides a visual aid, which helps participants understand the existing issues. Visual stream mapping helps in displaying the interaction between all items involve. It brings secondary items to the forefront of the production flow. Visual stream mapping accurately represents information and material flow throughout the process.
4. Focus PDCA: Focus PDCA is a logical and well-organized approach of the Plan-Do-Check-Act process for improving business processes. This approach includes steps most predecessors omit as it takes so much strength from its clear and non-nonsense steps.
The above four listed tools are in no way; all lean tools available presently. There are quite a number of them, but note, the listed ones here are the most helpful tools you can ever lay your hands on as they help in maximizing the available resources during production.
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