Question 2. Lean manufacturing and service ideology is a highly evolved method of managing an organization to improve the productivity efficiency and quality of its products or services. The idea was originally developed by Japan and America. These management strategies have been employed by manufacturing tour s such as Toyota. The focus on Toyota for example was based on principles of waste elimination where waste is anything that prevents the value added flow of material from raw material to finished goods. Practitioners in the company focus on waste elimination to improve their organization. Quality improvement is another lean principle used by Toyota. To eliminate quality defects, workers are assigned a responsibility to identify and fix them. Cost reduction is another principle used at Toyota. To reduce cost and lead times Toyota developed the pull production method where at each stage of the process the amount of work performed is dictated only by demand for materials stage that follows immediately. T o improve speed and response Toyota has ensured employee involvement and empowerment where workers work as a team each with a given task to carry out they have organized procedures using carts and trainings workers to do their own set ups and avoid time waste. Toyota has managed to slash set up time from months to hours. Companies best served by lean manufacturing specialize in affordable products as it allows them to keep their cost down (John & Brendan, 2009).
Question 4b. In improving the situation in a catalog filing process the lean principle can follow the following procedure. First there is the need to define the target system, whereby there are the supplier’s inputs processes outputs and customers. This helps determine the tasks and activities order of steps decision points that each employee is going to perform. Secondly comes the analyzing the current state. Improvement efforts could be focused from the supervisor who sends the order at1: pm and the person who does the verification and proof reading. Lastly, the future state should be designed. A team set to come up with solutions should suggest solutions related with proof reading and verification. They should also focus on time management through case scheduling and teamwork (John & Brendan, 2009).
Question 6. Organizations considering a lean transformation consider the following initiatives. First they should find the need to start a pilot program. This means that they improve the quality and cost of performance through improving weak sections in the organization before applying the initiative to other sections of the company. Lean here requires proper understanding of why previous improvement initiatives succeed or failed. Another lean initiative used by service providers is focus on continuous improvement and changing how people in the company work and think. Workers are treated as innovators not as people who do as they are told. At lean companies management listens to workers recommendations this helps in fixing problems at an early stage which is also an important lean initiative. Front line employees are involved in decision making in service providing organizations. Through getting them thinking and talking management learns about the root source of particular problem in the company thus the organizations are able to continuously solve root problems the department dealing with maintenance in an organization should eliminate waste in order to become more planned and predictable (Swank, 2003).
Service organizations are now using lean thinking and deploying its principles. Service providers such as healthcare justice and police forces use lean principles. However these service organizations should be wary of consultants who sell their lame lean ideas as they create misconceptions that lean can be adopted though sending employees for short lean course. Service industries found in the public sector prefer using an IT automation course. This is because it is often seen as the best initiative to process management which of course is a dangerous assumption. Manager’s shouldn’t get estranged by fresh systems implementations rather they should ensure that new IT process automation plans are driven by improved process control and management standards. Adoption of lean strategies in the service sector is notably lower compared to its counterpart in the factory service, however they do apply generally and in fact quiet well (Swank, 2003).
The difference between applying lean in a factory and a service can be broken down into conceptual and technical differences. Conceptual differences are the most important. In a factory you produce tangible goods while in service provision as daycare for young children you don’t provide something tangible. This makes difficult to employ Lean Six Sigma. Many services business do not have an improvement culture or mindset. For example in a hospital setting nurses are not allowed to develop and implement improvements to standards of medical procedures. Accountants are generally held responsible for adhering to general accepted accounting principles rather than improving them. This point out the cultural differenceamong most services business and functions compared to what is needed for the use of the lean Six Sigma. Unlike in the factory setting where almost always there is pressure to reduce wastes and productions are easily seen and qualified once major improvements are made in these companies,thus extra improvements are anticipated. In factory setting improvement is not an option it is a matter of survival. The technical difference between the two is the lack of suitable technical measurement to obtain accurate data(Swank, 2003).
In conclusion lean is a worthwhile management philosophy aligned well with clear, inclusive and effective management principles and those who take their time to carefully mark their route and stick to their objectives despite setbacks along the way will gain real business benefits, but if the improvements are not seen holistically then the benefits resulting will be minimal or counter productive.