Heralded as the fourth industrial revolution, Industry 4.0 introduces new technologies in manufacturing, bringing together the digital and physical worlds of the production floor. On the surface, it may seem that these advanced technologies are contrary to the lean principles of simplicity. So does that spell the end of the lean manufacturing era?
Integrative Improvement Blog
The integrative improvement blog discusses and provides commentary on the latest topics in the business performance improvement sector.
The world of continuous improvement is crowded with heaps of new and existing concepts, making it difficult for executives to select the right CI programme.
For any lean or similar CI initiative to succeed, participants must immediately identify with and buy into the concepts, and learn how these best practices will benefit their lives. One of the most effective ways to gain this support is to begin a CI implementation with the 5S best practice.
Organisations experience change in many shapes and forms, from continuous improvement initiatives, downsizing, mergers and acquisitions to technical upgrades and changes in leadership. If there’s anything else guaranteed in life besides death and taxes, it’s change within today’s business world. So to lead change effectively, you need to become a champion of change.
The primary focus of RCM is to achieve a high level of understanding of the failure modes or causes, the likelihood of occurrence and the related effects. This provides the framework for defining a maintenance plan that prevents or proactively addresses the potential causes of failure in such a way that the overall cost of doing business is reduced.
In industries with highly volatile demand, like chemicals and fashion retail, the costs of stockouts and markdowns can actually exceed the total cost of manufacturing. To tackle this high and unpredictable demand volatility, manufacturing companies have to improve responsiveness. In other words, they have to become agile.
Although sustainability has been a buzzword throughout manufacturing supply chains since the dawn of the new millennium, the push to implement green supply chain practices has ebbed and flowed. In fact, for some organisations it’s easier to write an optimistic sustainability report than it is to thoroughly green its operations and those of its suppliers.
Continuous improvement doesn’t stop at the completion of short-term improvement objectives (otherwise it’s not really continuous improvement). Done well, the initial CI activities should result in broader workforce engagement. So once you have their attention, and perhaps their hearts, why stop when CI maturity levels out?
In today’s manufacturing environment where supply chain management and lean manufacturing can make an infinite contribution to an organisation’s bottom line profits, operations can no longer be left out of the strategic planning loop. While a well-defined operations strategy will not guarantee success by itself, not having one at all will almost certainly guarantee failure.
To effectively drive and sustain continuous improvement, leaders and managers need to guide their teams through significant step-change improvements. Most importantly, they need to maintain their gains at every step of the CI journey, which is where many improvement efforts go awry. Here’s how to stay the course.