|LMS™ - Lean Manufacturing System
Lean Manufacturing and Lean Production
The primary focus of an implementation of a Lean Manufacturing System - LMS is to
accelerate the processing of materials through the product delivery process, minimizing
waste, eliminating queuing, reducing transportation, and shrinking delays.
Typically we help an organization migrate from a batch or mass production process, to a
flexible, mixed model, lean replenishment system tied directly to the dynamic material
requirements at the point-of-use. While materials controls are paramount to success, it is
critical to decrease the Total Cycle Time in the process.
This brings us to the inherent time-based focus of any process. Velocity of the materials in
the system can only come from improvements in the flow. We target shop floor processes,
identify waste, and use a variety of simple but comprehensive Lean technologies in a Train-
the-Trainer model to propagate improvements throughout the business unit.
Using our proprietary LMS Train-the-Trainer approach, the people that do the work become
the resources that are trained to facilitate their own improvement activities. This creates an
empowered team that can help reach company objectives faster than the traditional
organization, and with more accountability, pride, and ownership.
HOW WE DO IT
As you might predict the first step of a Lean Manufacturing System implementation is to define
the opportunities and establish a joint vision of the future state in a short series of business
workshops. Since every industry has unique characteristics we must take into account the
operating system of the client company. This critical activity identifies the scope of the
implementation and establishes a clear roadmap. It also elevates goals and metrics to set
the course for the implementation.
Next, we have a series of shop floor transformative events, each completely self-contained
and independent, including a curriculum for trainers to assimilate the knowledge as quickly
as possible. This allows your coaches to pick up individual Lean Manufacturing technologies
in their own area of interest and expertise, and to facilitate structured and simple improvement
events. This separates us from the other consultants, as our model drives results that
originate within the ranks of the people that do the work, and do not depend on senior
facilitators to achieve substantial results.
A typical TTT technology area would be Set-up Reduction. A typical skill coach is a Supervisor
of a small work group. John is a supervisor who might like equipment and has worked for
years in the printing area. He is the best candidate to provide his team and other teams with
Set-up Reduction and Total Productive Maintenance training.
In another scenario, Mary has worked for years in an assembly area. She understands the
interactions of the human in the system and is most suitable to be a skill coach in the Flow
technology. She could be trained and given a curriculum to use to train others, both on her
own team and on any other team in the business unit that needs to implement her lean
We develop skill coaches in several lean manufacturing technologies that traditionally are
considered part of an engineer’s job description. A skill coach is most typically a supervisor
or group leader, but often is an ambitious operator, a technician, quality control, or
The crux of our model is a series of business workshops that set the stage for train-the-trainer
implementation events to provide the physical changes necessary for drastic productivity and
total cycle time improvements. In our train-the-trainer methodology for a Lean Manufacturing
System implementation, we typically require at least 3 events in each lean technology to certify
the organization in each technology area. The first TTT event we will facilitate 100% and focus
on results achievement. The second is meant to be an opportunity for your potential skill
coach to co-facilitate a live event, and get personal and constant one-on-one coaching, for a
complete experiential familiarity. Your skill coaches will be given the training materials for
permanent use by your business unit. This would now make the person “qualified” to teach
the skill. The last event is facilitated completely by your skill coach, with Team Lean in the
background to provide direction, coaching, and mentoring. After this experience of leading a
team, Team Lean would consider your skill coaches now “certified” to teach this skill for your
business unit. We provide immediate feedback in training techniques, technology
implementation, event structure and preparation, and pitfalls to avoid as they continue
facilitating future events independently.
Since a typical manufacturer’s cost of goods sold generally has a distribution of 60%
materials, 30% overhead, and 10% labor, it is obvious that the largest opportunity lies in
reducing your working capital requirements, converting raw materials to finished goods, and
selling them as expeditiously as possible. Total Cycle Time reduction and growth through
capacity generation with no incremental investment are the overarching goals of our Lean
Manufacturing System. These lean results translate into increased EBIT, improved RONA,
increased Inventory turnover (decreased $$), and decreased COGS. Specific Lean
manufacturing technologies and expected measurable results are shown in a table attached.
The premise behind the Team Lean model lies as much behind the “Team” part of the
equation, as it does in the “Lean” aspect. Technologies are principal to success and must be
applied to the processes diligently, but most organizations run out of gas waiting for the
overbooked and overworked “lean experts” to become available to a target area within a
business unit. The better approach is to use the people that do the work to run their own
independent improvement events in a smaller scope but much more frequent application.
Smaller events in scope provide a very quick recovery and a drastically higher rate of return
because results can easily be sustained when they are “owned” by the people that do the
The proposed set of lean manufacturing technologies will enable your teams to identify
sources of waste and cost drivers in their resident processes, and be able to independently
plan and execute improvement events to eliminate or reduce these factors. This is a critical
success factor to reach Gold and Diamond in the Achieving Excellence core business
improvement model. Without self-directed team improvements the criteria can’t be met to
achieve the results needed for Gold and Diamond.
A typical failure mode of lean implementations is quoted as “lack of resources.” If there are
500 people in a business unit, how could only 1 or 2 lean experts accomplish the task of
organizing, planning, facilitating, and following up on hundreds of lean improvement events
and activities simultaneously? This would take years wouldn’t it?