The CONNSTEP Blog

First Steps with Enterprise Wide Lean Manufacturing

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If you had the opportunity to read our recent article about Enterprise Wide Lean (EWL) initiatives, you may be familiar with CONNSTEP’s holistic, top-down approach to continuous improvement. Rather than pursuing point-based Lean Manufacturing solutions, EWL encourages a more comprehensive mindset, inspiring a cultural shift and inspiring all stakeholders to understand value creation, work to eliminate waste, and seek a common vision of continuous improvement.  EWL presents strategic business growth opportunities that small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) would be wise to consider as they seek to increase top line revenue.

But how to get started?  Just because EWL is an all-encompassing Lean Manufacturing approach, that doesn’t mean that it encourages clients to bite off more than they can chew in terms of operational improvement.  In fact, point solutions are typically the most appropriate way to begin an Enterprise Wide initiative; getting started often means starting small.

Lean Manufacturing begins with a single step

Like so many others, the Enterprise Wide Lean journey usually begins with a single step—a point solution that enables the broader thinking inherent in EWL.

In most cases, CONNSTEP is called in to address a specific business need.  Whether or not the client in question has used Lean Manufacturing tools in the past, they typically come to us with a focused area in need of improvement.  When carried out properly, however, the initial discovery phase leaves no stone unturned, and more wide-ranging issues can become apparent.

At this point, an objective eye is our greatest asset.  The point solution process may be the most appropriate starting point, but foundational Lean Manufacturing improvement requires the need to look at the big picture.  CONNSTEP’s experienced Lean Manufacturing practitioners have a proven ability to see the larger issues without losing sight of the acute need.

After seeing the results of our initial efforts, we have not only won the confidence of our client, but we have gained a better understanding of their corporate philosophy.  What’s more, we typically inspire the management and support staff to start thinking about things in EWL-centric ways.

Kaizen events are an excellent example. They produce immediate results while giving all parties involved a chance to think about an organization and its needs in broader Lean Manufacturing perspectives.

Enterprise Wide Lean is not always something to jump into right away; we encourage Lean clients to start small and continually assess the ways we work together.  With focused project results, we will begin to see how these methodologies can be applied across the whole organization to solve more systemic problems.

The business improvement associated with EWL is there for the taking.  If you would like to learn more, call 800.266.6672 or email me today to learn how CONNSTEP can help you take those important first steps toward an Enterprise Wide Lean Manufacturing transformation.

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