Lessons from a Lean Consultant: Avoiding Lean Implementation Failures on the Shop Floor

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9780131584631: Lessons from a Lean Consultant: Avoiding Lean Implementation Failures on the Shop Floor

Making Lean Work: “In-the-Trenches” Help from a World-Class Expert

Lean manufacturing can improve productivity and quality, shorten lead times, reduce costs, and improve competitiveness. However, succeeding with lean is not easy. Chris A. Ortiz, one of the country’s most respected lean implementers, shows you exactly how to overcome obstacles, drive value from lean, and sustain success for the long term.

Ortiz draws on his experience leading many successful lean transitions and more than 150 kaizen events. He shows you how to prepare for a lean shop floor environment, implement best practice procedures and standards, build executive support, lead kaizen within the factory, and deal with the ups and downs you will inevitably encounter.

Forget theory: This is a step-by-step, what-to-do guide for professionals in the trenches—plant and engineering managers, lean managers and directors, Six Sigma practitioners, and working engineers.

Topics covered include

  • Seven reasons lean can fail—and how to overcome them
  • Establishing successful kaizen programs: champions, events, teams, goals, tracking, and scheduling
  • Avoiding early stumbling blocks in data collection, waste removal, and process design
  • Getting your operators and supervisors to “buy into” lean
  • Training managers, engineers, and new employees
  • Promoting flexibility and cross-training
  • Using lean to drive growth, not just save money
  • Lean leadership made simple: twelve practical techniques, five simple rules—and ten things not to do
  • Sample audit, tracking, and time study forms

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About the Author:

Chris Ortiz is a senior lean consultant and the owner of Kaizen Assembly. He has spent the majority of his professional career working for Fortune 500 companies, teaching and guiding them to become more efficient businesses. Chris has also led more than 150 kaizen events around the United States.

Ortiz is also an instructor at five Washington state community and technical colleges. He has developed a reputation for delivering fast-paced, highly detailed, and interactive classroom-style courses.

He is the author of the book Kaizen Assembly: Designing, Constructing, and Managing a Lean Assembly Line (Boca Raton, FL: Taylor and Francis Group, 2006). His lean implementation techniques have been featured in a variety of trade magazines, newspapers, corporate newsletters, Industrial Engineer magazine, Industrial Management magazine, and other lean manufacturing newsletters and periodicals.

To contact Chris Ortiz, e-mail chrisortiz@kaizenassembly.com or go to his Web site, www.kaizenassembly.com.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

By itself, implementing lean manufacturing on the factory floor will not generate the desired results unless certain systems are in place, production support staff operate efficiently, and the operators are fully engaged and committed to the change. As a lean consultant, I have traveled around the country and have seen a variety of companies and manufacturing operations. Each one was unique in its approach to lean manufacturing.

I am often asked why some companies are successful and others fail in their lean implementations. Or more simply put, what did they do to get the results they obtained?

Lessons from a Lean Consultant outlines the fundamental mistakes companies make in trying to implement lean manufacturing. I provide solutions for upper managers, engineers, and supervisors who are struggling to keep their lean implementations afloat or are looking for advice on how to mold their production operators into the powerful change agents they need to be. Lessons from a Lean Consultant helps prepare managers for working in a lean shop floor environment. Lean succeeds or fails depending on the commitment from management. Dealing with the ups and downs of lean implementations can be tough. This book shows what is expected of managers and their subordinates.

From my perspective, the lean manufacturing training and consulting business has changed over the years. It used to be common practice for companies to spend tens of thousands of dollars on individuals who taught generalized, theory-based curriculums. I am not implying that all consultants operated in this manner, but many did. This type of training and guidance has become outdated, and companies are looking for hands-on approaches to lean training.

This change in the market has affected my books on lean manufacturing. I saw this market transformation about two years ago and wrote Kaizen Assembly: Designing, Constructing, and Managing a Lean Assembly Line in an attempt to cater to the nuts-and-bolts needs of themarket. Lessons from a Lean Consultant takes the same approach to lean management and culture change, providing detailed, real-life solutions to those who are struggling with workers who do not want to adapt to lean methods or adhere to the systems and procedures in place. In short, this book takes a nuts-and-bolts approach to lean management and culture transformation.

Chapter 1 briefly tells the story of how an attempt to implement lean manufacturing failed in a company for which I was the senior lean manufacturing engineer. Chapter 2 lays the foundation for the book by outlining the importance of meeting customer needs and developing a competitive balance between cost, quality, and delivery. Chapter 3 provides a step-by-step guideline to creating a company kaizen program, an organization's foundation for continuous improvement. Chapter 4 helps the manufacturing professional identify the early stumbling blocks that commonly occur during the planning and implementation of lean manufacturing in a factory environment. This chapter defines the cornerstones of the early stages of lean manufacturing: 5S, visual management, data collection, waste removal, and process design.

Chapters 5 and 6 illustrate the importance of developing a relationship with your line operators and teaching them how to work and interact in a lean process. Success requires solid up-front planning and training of existing and new employees. Chapter 7 feeds off of Chapters 5 and 6, explaining in detail the incentive and pay-for-skill systems that help you encourage cross-training and develop a flexible workforce.

Chapter 8 takes a unique approach to lean leadership. This chapter emphasizes how the best leaders treat people, with or without a lean journey. In short, if company leaders manage through negative reinforcement, the organization will struggle to adapt to a lean culture.

Appendixes A and B illustrate forms, documents, and templates that are useful during your lean journey. The Glossary lists and defines the key lean terms you should know.

It's my hope that professionals working in the manufacturing sector holding titles such as plant manager, engineering manager, lean manager, and even lean engineer will find value in this book. My goal is to provide a tool for creating a solid lean program in which the people in direct control of its success are driving the improvements, thereby ensuring that their implementations endure and prosper.

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