Lean manufacturing requires identification of wastages.Only after wastages are identified that they can be eliminated from the processes. Henry Ford famously said that one of the most difficult things to do is to identify the areas of wastage. The challenge becomes bigger when the wastage is of time.
Companies and businesses unknowingly follow processes that lead to wastage of time and efforts. This wastage of time and effort is often built in the job designs and processes. Wastage of time and efforts causes lower employee productivity. Lower employee productivity translates into lower organizational productivity and hence lower profits and higher costs.Companies and businesses need a mindset that focuses on eliminating wastage of time and efforts.
Time and motion studies should be regularly conducted to observe how various jobs are being done and the time that is being taken to complete them. Video-recording of job tasks can help the management in identifying areas where excess efforts are exerted. The focus should be on accomplishing various job tasks with the expenditure of minimum efforts and time. The feedback of employees is important in identifying areas of wastage of effort and time.
A holistic focus requires focus on minimization of wastage of resources, efforts and time. When a company is able to eliminate wastage on all these three aspects then only it is truly successful in achieving lean manufacturing.Elimination of wastage leads to lower operational costs.This gives the business cost leadership over its rivals. It can transfer these cost savings to customers in the form of lower prices and increase its market share. Or it can keep the cost savings to itself and operate at higher profit margins.
Efficiency can become the most important source of competitive advantage for a business. Competitive advantage is the advantage that a business has over its competitors.This advantage can come from better products than competitors or better services than customers or more efficient processes than competitors or some other factor.No wonder then that Henry Ford, one of the pioneers of corporate America, was so obsessed with eliminating wastages in production processes. And Ford emphasized that in order to be successful in waste elimination a company should focus on elimination of wastage of time. Every process, every activity in the organization should be done in a way that minimizes wastage of time and effort.