Essay: How Successful is the Lean Manufacturing Process
It is not easy for the lean manufacturing process to succeed since the employees are not involved in the process and if they are, it is at a very late stage. It is assumed that lean programs are very expensive and this makes the management reluctant in purchasing them. Further, the management is not able to connect all the processes involved in running of the business. The management is focusing on pressuring the lower level managers to produce good results but do not bother improving the strategies that are used to achieve the results. The management in most of the times is rules by a judgmental and blaming culture without putting the blame on itself but on others.
There is a number of non-value added or waste activities that appear in the food sector including, muda of waiting, muda of rework, muda of over-processing, muda of motion, muda of transportation, muda of inventory and muda of overproduction. Muda of overproduction and rework occur in the cases where there is batch processing. In this case, total quality management strategies should be applied to improve quality. Total quality management is applied here to ensure that the firms will produce only what is required by the consumers and at the right amounts and the right time. Muda of overproduction is because of wrong forecasted demands leading to excess and unsold finished goods or products, which are in the stage of work in progress. Lean manufacturing practices in this case will be applied to minimize waste through minimizing lead-time and at the same time ensuring good quality. Since it is true that some agricultural products will only be produced in batch at specific times and this cannot be controlled, lean manufacturing processes will be used to improve the quality and reduce the costs involved. For the companies that produce agricultural products, which are very perishable, they have to apply JIT. For instance, Marks and Spencer deals with perishable vegetables and therefore markets only the amounts required to reduce costs involved in wastage.