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Going Lean Without Becoming Malnourished

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Introducing “lean” practices in your manufacturing and supply chain operations can improve productivity, reduce costs of doing business, and lead to better profit margins.  However, introducing lean practices without working with the right people and setting reasonable goals can weaken your company and create chaos.

You might put a lot of thought and time into developing a plan that introduces lean initiatives throughout your manufacturing operations, including your supply chain, but the reality is that some lean plans fail.  You may have heard stories of businesses who tried to go lean and either abandoned the changes or weren’t able to implement their initiatives.  Lean activities can contradict other improvement efforts and even enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementations.  You can benefit from lean methodologies if you start your planning with the right team and the right technology.

There are consultants that can work with you to develop and implement lean strategies.  You can also start by getting a team together that includes workers in all levels of management.  You want line workers and managers to outline common bottlenecks, raw material or product wastes, and wastes in labor productivity.  Having eyes at all levels will make it easier to spot the most common and consistent inefficiencies, as well as those problems that, when changed, will provide the biggest benefits from lean initiatives.

After assembling the team, you need a technology that will help you evaluate current data, as well as monitor changes, so you can measure the results of your lean efforts.  An ERP software solution, such as Microsoft Dynamics® GP would provide just the insight you need.  This software solution offers a RoleTailored interface that will put your key metrics at your fingertips.  You can monitor budgets, financials, and other data, in real time.  Compare new data with old data and make sure that your lean efforts are working to your benefit.

Getting involvement from across all levels of your business will encourage greater participation and adoption of lean efforts.  You’ll be able to devise more meaningful and realistic plans for making lean improvements.  Then, using your ERP software, you can monitor key metrics and take action, when needed, to keep your plans on track.  Watch how lean efforts are affecting metrics and make changes if you don’t see the results you had anticipated.

Implementing lean initiatives can reduce waste, improve productivity, and also boost profitability.  To get the results you want, you need a realistic plan, support from your team, and technology to measure results.  Contact Socius for additional guidance on introducing lean efforts without becoming malnourished: http://www.socius1.com/contact/.

By Socius, Ohio Microsoft Dynamics GP Partner (http://www.socius1.com/)

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