Lean Eliminates Waste, Not People
When the concept of lean is implemented within a work facility there may be a variety of different responses. For instance, some people may be excited and respond by saying “we should have started lean even sooner, what a great concept.” However, there are also people at the opposite end of spectrum who simply cringe when they hear the term lean and associate it with pay cuts, hour cuts, and actual employee position cuts. While it is natural to be somewhat cautious with the incorporation of something new, lean should not be something that elicits fear. In fact, lean does not eliminate jobs instead lean is all about unleashing untapped potential, eliminating unneeded wastes, and essentially creating steady levels of growth.
Wasted Time, Money, and Resources
The pure and simple truth is that there are many wastes and most of them occur daily whether they happen at work or home. Anywhere you look you can find waste. For instance, consider the packaging on children’s toys. During the last holiday season, I had two garbage bags full of plastic toy packaging; however, I could fit all the actual toys in into something as small as a gallon ice cream bucket. The levels of waste due to over-packaging are literally unnerving. Not only would it save the manufacturer time and money to use less packaging, it would also save the consumer space in their garbage bags as well. I hate the thought of creating something such as packaging just to have it thrown away as soon as the packaged product is purchased. What a waste. The same lean mindset applies to processes. There are many different processes being done in business settings that are simply unneeded, redundant, or not adding value to the actual business itself. This is where processes need to be analyzed and revamped in order to create more streamlined, value added tasks.
How Does Lean Inspire Growth?
Lean inspires growth in a variety of ways especially when it comes to waste elimination. Just because a company chooses to incorporate the concepts of lean does not mean they are looking to eliminate employees, actually it is quite the opposite. They are looking to eliminate waste in order to inspire growth. If a company continues to spend time, money, and resources on unneeded or unvalued tasks, the company will eventually experience hardships. However, if a company chooses to incorporate the tactics of lean, they will save time, money, and resources and have the opportunity to grow and may actually need to hire more employees to accommodate the higher levels of growth.
Lean should never be considered a tactic to cut jobs or employees, instead lean should be viewed as an opportunity for growth, new beginnings, and success. Just like the saying, “the early bird gets the worm” it is also true that a company who starts lean in the beginning usually experiences more success.
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- Understanding Key Lean Manufacturing Concepts
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- Packaging Waste: Large Box Use Out of Hand?
- Lean: Is Forecasting Feasible?
- The Benefits of Lean Management
- Lean and kaizen are not meant to eliminate people — they’re meant for improvement
- Lean Manufacturing: Commonly Asked Questions