What is industry 4.0

What is Industry 4.0

Every company has a unique way of carrying out its operations. But all of them face one common challenge; the need to connect and access real-time data. Businesses must make fast, effective decisions to remain relevant in the rapidly changing industrial economy.

And connectivity is the game-changer.

Thus the need to adopt industry 4.0 processes. Smart manufacturing is not just about digitizing your factory process. It also revolutionizes the whole business operation and growth.

Let us look in-depth at industry 4.0 and how the technology can help you solve modern business challenges.

Industry 4.0 definition

Industry 4.0 is the fourth revolution that is occurring in manufacturing. In this revolution, the manufacturers are using the computers introduced in the third generation to revolutionize processes.

Industries are integrating new technologies throughout their manufacturing processes. In smart manufacturing, technologies such as cloud computing and analytics, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), and machine learning are taking over the daily manufacturing operations.

History of industry 4.0

Since the 17th century, industrialization has been undergoing key developments. In total, four key evolutions have taken place over the years.

The first industrial revolution took place in the early 17th century. In this development, manufacturing processes evolved from manual and animal labor to water and steam power engines.

The second industrial revolution was in the early 20th century. This phase saw the introduction of electricity in production factories. In addition, factories began to use steel to improve the efficiency and mobility of machines.

During this phase, modern mass production concepts like assembly lines and conveyor belts took form. Thus, industries experienced a boost in production with lower production costs.

The third industrial revolution started gradually in the 1950s. In this phase, manufacturers began introducing more electronically aided machines in production. Eventually, manufacturers slowly integrated computer technology into factory processes. Hence, industries began experiencing a shift from analog to digital operations.

In the past few decades, computer technology has almost entirely taken over the industrial process. A fourth industrial revolution, known as industry 4.0, is emerging. Industry 4.0 has taken smart machines and interconnectivity to a new level.

The industries are adopting robotics, embedded software, and advanced sensors in data collection. Industry 4.0 processes also combine the created data with the current ERPs, continuous improvement software, and supply chain to create a new level of forecasts and production visibility. But the truth is that it seems we are forgetting who is making all this evolution happen, people. 

Benefits of industry 4.0

But Industry 4.0 spans throughout the entire production cycle. Company employees get real-time data in every production stage, from factory processes, shop floor management to supply chain procedures. Below are some benefits you can benefit from adopting an industry 4.0 digital approach in your company.

Higher efficiency

Industry 4.0 digital technology uses evidence-based information in decision-making. Level four smart factories also take some of these decisions off your shoulder by providing all the options available where AI plays and will play in the future a key role. 

You do not have to worry about decisions made under pressure with machines at work. Every action relies on real-time data analysis and the current trading environment. The technology can also detect significant problems in assembly lines before they occur. Thus, all maintenance plans are proactive, ensuring that factories do not suffer downtime due to breakdowns. Do not forget that all the data can be gathered by machines but also from the broad knowledge base made by the workforce. Again behind any action, there is always people.

What is Industry 4.0

Optimize the supply chain

A connected supply chain identifies priorities and adjusts its operations to accommodate them. It also processes new information and adjusts accordingly in case of emergencies. For instance, if shipment delays due to unavoidable circumstances, the supply chain adjusts the mass production settings and modifies the manufacturing requirements. 

Cost-cutting

The smart factory uses various technologies to cut costs and maximize profits while retaining quality. For instance, shipping yards now use autonomous equipment and cranes to streamline offloading operations. Also by using digital tools to manage the shop floor such as standards, actions, audits etc….will reduce considerable the costs of non-quality, and the waste of not doing the things right from the beginning…so robust standards to our work force are key to cut costs. 

Also, robots are nowadays available at affordable prices and in different sizes. Autonomous robotics support manufacturing by moving things around the factory space. Besides maximizing floor space use, robotics also cut labor costs. Also, robots do not suffer from fatigue. The factory operations can run for hours without the need for a break.

Again the perfect recipe is a combination of automation and people with the right tools.

Asset optimization

Industry 4.0 digital transformation processes help manufacturers optimize the assets at every production stage. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and digital twin give the in-charge personnel visibility of the resources from any part of the world. Asset transfer such as purchase and sale of stock is streamlined and managed in a central location.

What defines a smart factory?

A smart factory is a digitized production facility. It uses factory machinery, connected devices, and production systems to collect and share data between people and processes. A smart factory is empowered by digital transformation technologies such as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), big analytics, edge computing, AI and cloud computing. Smart factories combine the digital and physical worlds to monitor mass production and again, without forgetting the key actor, people. 

Below are some of the characteristics that define a smart company.

Connected

A smart factory’s most crucial feature is its connected nature– the machines are embedded with smart sensors that continuously pull data from old and new sources. Thus, the data is constantly updated, representing the current situation. But the workers are also connected, with easy access to digitized standards and with tools to easily record any inconvenient or improvement idea. A Smart Factory is a paper-less factory.

Integrating the factory, business, and operation system provides a holistic view of the supply chain process. Further integration of smart machines with other parties such as suppliers and customer and again factory workers input provides greater overall supply network efficiency.

Optimized

Smart machines allow the running of day-to-day operations with minimal human intervention. This optimization leads to high levels of reliability. So workers can focus on the important things like how to analyze that data into information for a quicker decision making. And when human intervention is needed, smart factories have it standardized and digitized.

The synchronization of machines and automated workflows improves the tracking and scheduling of events. This integration, in turn, optimizes the consumption of energy and other resources.

Hence, smart factories increase uptime, yield, and quality. Technology also helps in maximizing efficiency but cutting costs.

Transparent

In smart factories, the data provided is transparent. Real-time data visualizations capture the data in the still-in-production products and transform them into actionable insights. Even more, throughout a digital continuous improvement system transparency is a given, every department is responsible of its data and the data provided to the overall company data hub. 

Indeed, a transparent network enables greater visibility across production facilities. It also ensures that the organization makes accurate and timely decisions. Some tools that support transparency are real-time alerts, monitoring and tracking, and role-based views.

Proactive

Digital connectivity enables employees to anticipate and act on issues before they occur. This proactive feature helps identify anomalies, identify and address quality issues, and monitor safety concerns. A proactive system also comes in handy in replenishing stock and predicting customer needs. A smart company can also predict future outcomes based on historical data. This ability helps the management create better forecasts and customer satisfaction.

Smart factories can also use the digital twin to digitize operations. Such technologies help the factories to move beyond integration into the predictive analysis.

Agile

The agile feature of industry 4.0 allows it to adapt to changes in schedule and product details with minimal interventions. Smart companies equipment and material flow in line with schedule and product changes. For instance, all the working instructions you had in the factory on paper, can now be replaced by video work instructions that can be improved on the fly and get a quicker approval.

The same applies when implementing improvement ideas, which can be easily managed in a smart factory through digitalization. This increases both the engagement of employees and the effectivness of the new improvements.

All these take effect in real-time, thus avoiding any build-ups. Also, agility improves production uptime and yield by minimizing the change-over effects. Agility is an essential smart factory feature, especially regarding the flexible scheduling of factory products.

When combined, these features allow manufacturers greater visibility across the factory. They also help managers navigate most of the challenges faced in traditional production, which leads to factory losses.

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What technology is needed to upgrade to a smart factory in industry 4.0

In the fourth industrial revolution, smart factories used various technologies to optimize production processes. These technologies include but are not limited to the following:

Advantages of Industry 4.0

Internet of things

One of the essential features of industry 4.0 is the internet of things. This technology refers to the interconnection of computing devices embedded in devices through the internet, forming a giant network of things and people sharing information.

In production, the floors and walls of factories are installed with sensors. These sensors have IP addresses connecting machines with web-enabled devices such as phones and computers. The network allows high-level data collection and analysis.

AI and machine learning

AI and machine learning allow the efficient use of the information gathered using the internet of things or in any software to support improvements in the plant. The technology also integrates the information collected from the factory floor with other business units. In extension, AI incorporates data from partners and other parties if they are part of the network. For instance a proposed date and team member for an action to be done based on similar actions collected and completion time. But again, people knowledge base also help AI to provide better resolutions not only in machines. 

The AI technology then uses this information to forecast and predict the future movements of production. Another capability of AI technology is that it indicates the future operation ability of the factory floor network. For example, AI will indicate the failure of one machine, which, if not detected, could distort the data analyzed. AI also helps point out areas of wastage or where the machines are not in optimal production.

Cloud computing

Cloud computing is the real-time or on-demand access to computing resources over the internet. The components of cloud computing are physical and virtual servers, data storage, networking capabilities, and remote development tools. These applications are hosted at a remote data center and managed by cloud service providers (CSP).

Cloud computing is an essential component of Industry 4.0, especially regarding factory support services. For instance, the purchasing, finance, and sales department can access real-time data and have remote interdepartmental meetings in case of emergencies.

Also, cloud computing saves on the technical costs of setting up a physical server. Cloud service providers host the data. Thus, the only cost that the organization incurs is the monthly subscription charges.

Edge computing

Edge computing is a distributed computing paradigm that brings data storage closer to where it is needed. Demand for real-time operations means that some data must be at the edge (consumption point).

Edge computing reduces the lapse of time from access of data to response. For example, the detection of failure of a conveyor belt requires real-time action as it could halt the whole production process.

The time taken to send the data from the factory cloud to the response team may be longer if there are network problems. If the factory machines had sensors that communicate such information directly, delays would not occur.

Digital twin

A digital twin is the virtual representation of a physical object that spans its life cycle. The thing could be an engine, building, or a car. It is updated on real-time data and uses simulation and machine learning to reason and help in decision making. Looking at the digital twin, you can get all the crucial information you need to understand how the physical object performs in the real world.

Digital twin helps developers to understand how products are performing in the present. This technology also predicts how the objects will perform in the future.

Digital twin helps the developers in achieving the below tasks.

  1. Break down the boundaries that surround product innovation, creation, and testing.

  2. Visualizing the products in use in real-time by real people.

  3. Promoting traceability of the products in the market

Big data analytics

Big data analytics collects, records, stores, and analyzes high volumes of data. The technologies that support big data analysis include Hadoop, data mining, text mining, and predictive analysis.

Big data analytics aims to uncover meaningful insights such as hidden patterns and correlations. The technology also helps managers understand the information at their disposal.

Big data analytics provides new opportunities, alternatives to solving current risks, and business improvement channels. Moreover, using it helps the producers to make future decisions and optimize a company’s profitability.

3D printing technology

3D printing technology is also known as additive manufacturing. This technology involves creating a three-layered dimensional object using computer-created designs. The layers are added up to build the final three- dimensions image.

3D printing technology allows the users to create geometric parts with added depth. The cost of creating 3D designs is low, and the technology is also time-efficient. Because the technology uses Computer Aided Designs (CAD), product alteration is easy.

Because of its ability to create complex geometric parts, 3D printing technology is popular in the aerospace, medical, and automotive industries. Additive manufacturing also comes into play in project planning, particularly in visualizing the features of the final product.

mlean as a driver toward smart industry 4.0 factories

The core focus of lean manufacturing is improving efficiency by eliminating waste. Lean manufacturing integrates the 5Ms of manufacturing to create the best processes. These five Ms are manpower, machines, materials, methods, and measurements.

They are integrated into lean manufacturing as follows.

  1. Manpower: You need employees to perform various duties and activities.

When employees are not satisfied, their output is also directly affected. Thus, employees should always be motivated to give the best result.

  1. Machines ( equipment and technology)

Every manager should have an in-depth knowledge of the equipment they are operating. In addition, the workplaces should be safe, and every piece of equipment should be functioning well.

Lean manufacturing also supports continuous software improvement. The employees should therefore learn the software component to give the necessary feedback on areas of improvement.

  1. Materials

Lean manufacturing adopts the just-in-time business model of stock management. This model helps to save on storage costs and stock opportunity costs. Thus, only the relevant materials should be available during production.

  1. Methods

Lean manufacturing uses the standardization method to endure that the employees work as they should. For instance, the employees fill out standard forms in the area where they are performing. These forms have the relevant information regarding the duties, how to go about them, and the appropriate output.

  1. Measurements

It is essential to gauge the team member’s output. Lean manufacturing uses key performance indicators (KPI) to measure performance. The KPIs display schedules and targets of deliverables. They also indicate the results, measure them against actual goals and highlight the areas of improvement.

Below are some of the ways that lean manufacturing enhances industry 4.0.

Focus on quality

The aim of lean manufacturing is the elimination of waste. To achieve this, factories need faster and smoother supply chain management, from product manufacturing to delivery to the client.

When enterprises use smart industry technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), the managers get a full view of the production process and value chains. They can also detect machine malfunctions and prioritize urgent issues that would otherwise affect the factory uptime.

Focus on customer

Lean manufacturing emphasizes the need for feedback and customer satisfaction. The manufacturers can use AI technology to assess customer needs. For example, you can analyze customer behavior through the use of apps.

The customers are also able to customize their orders using the apps. Using bots also ensures that customers get instant feedback on and off working hours.

The digital twin also enables the manufacturers to assess the behavior of products in real-time. Thus, this technology helps the manufacturers to improve their output continuously.

Employee motivation.

Another objective of lean manufacturing is employee motivation through processes. Smart technologies come in through cloud computing.

In a smart factory business model, employees get the data as and when needed, improving efficiency. When the employees can easily achieve their goals, they are motivated to set other goals and excited to be part of the system.

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Industry 4.0 is the new and smart way of doing things. The technology gives you a competitive end in modern-day manufacturing. The good thing is that achieving smart manufacturing is not difficult with the proper support. Contact us for a detailed discussion on how we can help.

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Changing Company Culture through Lean

Change in Company Culture through Lean

Lean culture has proven that organizations can consistently improve their competitiveness. Thousands of companies have been inspired by the path set by Toyota, giving people the conditions for the pursuit of improved process flexibility and reliability. The Lean philosophy sets people as a fundamental part and seeks to provide them with the methodologies and the initiative to drive the improvement of all processes within their organizations.

Lean philosophy focuses on innovation and development process, not only because of the strong impact it has on the company’s results in the short and long term, but also because it strongly influences the performance of other processes:

  • Supply chain and purchasing efficiency
  • Productivity improvement through process improvement.
  • Improving the social environment
  • Development of new customers and markets
  • Customer satisfaction

It is therefore essential for any company to be able to identify and define the best compromise between:

  • The innovation organization model for future growth
  • Excellence in product/service development and improvement processes
  • Integration with other business processes (Lean Enterprise).

You cannot make this massive change overnight, nor can this new culture come from the bottom up, and more importantly, if the conversion to Lean is to happen, it has to be about people. You must help them see the waste and opportunities that have always existed in order for the change to be consistent and lasting.

How to change the company’s current culture

Ohno insisted that “costs are not to be calculated, but to be reduced” and that in production, data is important, but he preferred to put a higher emphasis on facts. So we should not be obstinate in the study of work without first understanding “the culture” of the company in which we want to implement an improvement methodology.

Lean culture does not respond to a unique standardized work scheme that we can copy from one organization to another. It is a way of being, of doing, that we must stipulate according to the structure, objectives, philosophy, and many personal aspects of each individual company. In short, it is important to take into account the essence and DNA of every organization. Fortunately, F.W. Taylor laid the foundations of the scientific organization of labor, and later Henry Ford introduced the first mass automobile production lines.

In the early 1990s, when the Japanese model arrived in Western countries, the characteristics of a new production system combining efficiency, flexibility, and quality were introduced. The concept of Lean Manufacturing (Lean applied to the industrial sector) was used for the first time. Today, the Lean Philosophy has evolved to new specific applications such as Lean Service (applied to service companies), Lean Office (applied to the office sector), and to other areas.

Under this philosophy, the common connection point is the performance of all members of the organization, establishing quality principles aimed at continuous improvement of the company. To point out that the essential pillar is with no doubt the elimination of waste (delivery, stocks, resources in general …). However, one of the biggest wastes of all time, and more in the industry 4.0 context with automation as a priority, is not taking advantage of the talent of the people who make up the human capital of the organization.

Steps for changing company culture

This work begins with the leader, and as we mentioned in our blog “Leadership and Continuous Improvement” he must dedicate himself to this approach because her/his success or failure will be determined by her/his actions and involvement. It is not possible to manage the change of culture in the company and the application of the Lean philosophy by delegating it. The leader has to be practical and lead the way, walk the talk, her/his example must be the reference for the entire organization. As such People who decide to follow the behavior of their leader will assume naturally the responsibility of changing the company and its culture.

Changeing Company Culture

Communicate

Bring the entire team together and explain WHY the change to Lean needs to be made, WHAT kind of results are expected, WHEN it will start and HOW it will be implemented. Do not forget that this message must come directly from the leader, again, it is not permissible to delegate. Be sure to also communicate to your team what they can expect for their own benefit, and be committed that the application of the Lean Philosophy in the Company through the involvement and contribution of the knowledge and know-how of all the components of the Team, is not oriented to the reduction of the Workforce, but to the improvement of Competitiveness and Job Security.

Define Objectives

Define and communicate the objectives that, once achieved, will differentiate your company from the competition. Clarify your answer to the question: “Why do we need to change?” These objectives will serve as a guide for all members of the company. And they must be realistic, but also ambitious and demanding, and they must be especially focused on improving processes by eliminating anything unnecessary. If you change your processes, your results will improve as you meet these objectives.

Adequacy of the structure is imperative

But it is not enough to set the objectives and set the path. If you want to change the company culture, you must make the organizational changes necessary to have the opportunity to achieve those goals, moving from functional departments based on the same type of team to value-stream teams.

How digitalization can help us to change company culture

Our people are connected in networks of all kinds, not only in the company but also in their day-to-day social life. Therefore, digitalization is part of the Lean cultural change. We definitely must take advantage of digitalization to make life easier for people in the company in Lean applications, in the same way, mobile phones have changed our lives. There is a huge benefit in time and resources with the mlean Production System suite of apps whose primary goal has been changing the culture of the company. We do believe that the most wasteful action today is not utilizing the base of knowledge of any company employee to improve the company’s performance. We believe the future is digitally….human. Learn more about the most complete lean manufacturing suite of apps.

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Continuous improvement and Safety

Continuous Improvement and Safety

Maintaining a safe work environment is essential for any business. No employee wants to work in hazardous conditions, and it will reflect poorly on your organization if the proper standards are not upheld.

However, workplace safety is not static and must be continuously monitored and improved to be effective. Here is a closer look at continuous improvement and safety and why it’s vital for a healthy, productive workplace.

What is Continuous Safety Improvement?

Continuous improvement and safety refer to the ongoing implementation of measures and protocols to improve safety processes in the workplace.

Work environments today are constantly changing and adapting. As you implement new systems and processes to manage inventory and meet customer , you must be sure that you are updating safety procedures as well. Managers and operators can do this by requesting feedback, analyzing data, and addressing any potential weaknesses in the current production system.

Continuous improvement is the only way to ensure that your safety protocols are up-to-date and employees don’t fall victim to any potential flaws. While it can often seem tedious and time-consuming, it will pay off in the long run to avoid any serious accidents or injuries that could delay production or result in a lawsuit.

How to Improve the Safety of the Workforce Continuously?

There is no one way to continuously improve safety standards. Managers and organizers must carefully analyze the company’s production system to look for areas that need improvement. All the same, here are a few ways that companies can analyze the current work environment to decide where to start.

1. Get Feedback:

Employee feedback is crucial to continuous safety and improvement. They are the ones at risk, and they are also the ones who must follow the proper protocols to keep everyone else protected. So, it’s important to get their input to better understand the potential issues from a ground level and implement new safety strategies that will actually be effective. Managers and operators should solicit feedback from employees of all levels – from the cleaning staff to the corporate suite. That way everyone feels included and can offer a unique perspective that will lead to more effective solutions. mlean’s Improvement Ideas solution is a fantastic tool to get this crucial feedback from employees.

2. Use Data:

Managers and analysts use data to make better decisions about many aspects of a business – so safety processes should be no different. Recording and analyzing important KPI can help you identify trends and mitigate potential problems before they become a safety risk. Plus, it can help you make better use of powerful technologies that can also be used to improve safety standards. However, the data you analyze should go deeper than accident rates and injury reports. You should analyze as many aspects of your production system as possible to look for irregularities and shifts that may be a cause for concern.

3. Look for the Root Causes:

If you truly want to improve safety standards in the long term, you have to look at the root cause of the problem, not just the effects. Rather than slapping a band-aid on the situation and calling it a day, try to treat the underlying wound so that it can properly heal. For instance, if workers in your warehouse are being injured regularly, you should first make sure they receive the necessary treatment. You should also look into the work environment and safety protocols in the warehouse to determine why this is happening. Then you can determine how procedures could be changed or implemented to find a solution. This will not only solve your current dilemma; it may also uncover other safety concerns that have yet to become a problem.

From our experience, one of the main causes for accidents in the workplace is the lack of strong and updated standards and the lack of well trained workers.

Safety and Continuous Improvement

4. Make the Investment:

Continuous improvement and safety aren’t free and may require occasional or recurring investments to implement properly. You may need to purchase new equipment or software to keep workers safe or even hire new employees to create and enact new safety protocols. Besides, keep in mind that it is an investment, not a sunk cost. Keeping employees safe is an essential responsibility of a business. While it may temporarily impact your bottom line, improved safety measures can also boost morale and employee satisfaction, which can lead to a more productive workforce. Plus, it can save you from potential lawsuits or bad publicity caused by unsafe conditions.

5. Repeat and Improve:

Finally, to maintain a safe work environment for the long term, you must continue to implement these strategies regularly and constantly look for ways to improve. No matter how much you plan and regulate, the occasional accident is going to happen. Moreover, any timeworker safety is compromised, you should look to determine why it happened and brainstorm ways to prevent similar accidents from occurring in the future. This is not a one-time process that can be completed and then forgotten. Managers and decision-makers must constantly analyze and improve to keep up with the constant changes in the workforce. So this process should become a regular part of your daily or weekly routines, to ensure that nothing slips through the cracks.

Why is Continuous Improvement and Safety so Important?

Worker safety is a key responsibility of a business. Your employees are trusting you to not only fairly compensate them for their time, but they are also counting on you to ensure that they are not being put in danger by entering your organization.

Certain risks are unavoidable, depending on the industry you’re in. Additionally, as a business owner or manager, you have a responsibility to do everything in your power to maintain a safe, healthy work environment for all your employees. Continuous safety improvement is the only way to ensure that you can identify potential threats and neutralize them as quickly as possible.

There is no one way to implement these protocols, so you’ll have to develop safety procedures that make sense for your organization. But having a strong system in place to respond to challenges and make adjustments based on critical feedback and data will go a long way toward creating a work environment where everyone feels valued and safe.

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Continuous Improvement Guide

Continuous improvement guide

Are you looking to implement a continuous improvement model? In this post, we are going to launch a guide that will help you understand what continuous improvement is and why it is important, as well as the methodologies used for it and all the associated tools.

What is continuous improvement

Continuous Improvement is all the activities created for the search, analysis, and resolution of inefficiencies, involving the people in an organization. Ensuring survival in any organization, which means profitability and competitiveness of companies, is the priority of continuous improvement.

The activities of analysis and continuous search for inefficiencies must be integrated at all levels of an organization and can be both daily and planned. Continuous Improvement is therefore a cultural issue, a state-of-mind of all the actors in continuous evolution (incremental improvement), it is a way of thinking that everything can evolve for the better.

It could also be said that it is a state of global dissatisfaction with what is established to identify improvement opportunities. From the moment we go to work, we can already think about doing things differently. Continuous Improvement, therefore, can never be a ¨trendy¨ matter, companies, in general, are risking their survival every day, therefore continuous improvement must be their main ally.

Why continuous improvement is important

The main reason for having a continuous improvement model is precisely the need for companies to be profitable and competitive over time. In other words, necessary to guarantee survival in the short, medium, and long term. Unfortunately, even in this century, many Continuous Improvement models implemented in many organizations serve only to demonstrate being fashionable or to justify ISO-type certifications or audits with clients.

Synchronization in quality, cost, delivery, and safety with customers is becoming more and more demanding. Increasingly complex and automated manufacturing processes and supply chains make the identification of waste, problems, production losses, improvement opportunities, etc… extremely complicated. However, companies are based on large mountains of “Gold” (Gold as the sum of all waste and Non-Value added activities for which the customer would not be willing to pay). A Continuous Improvement model is essential to help us in this task.

Continuous improvement methodologies

There are many methodologies for the implementation of a Continuous Improvement model (Lean Manufacturing, Six Sigma, TQM, WCM or even proprietary models that companies have created for themselves). There are neither better nor worse, each company must select one or several, but the key point is to embrace it.

All of them are based on what Deming formulated back in the 50s: the Deming cycle (PDCA). You must plan activities (Plan), execute them (Do), measure and analyze results (Check) and act and correct accordingly (Act). An endless circle.

Continuous improvement guide: PDCA

In any case, the methodology is not important. What is important is the implementation strategy in any organization. To ensure success in the implementation of a Continuous Improvement system, the following “Key Points” must be ensured:

  1. Leadership: We need leaders capable of knowing where they want to take their organization with their entire work team.
  2. Continuous Improvement and Excellence Model: Have a Continuous Improvement Model to rely on and compare over time and that guides us on the path to Excellence.
  3. Diagnosis: Being able to diagnose the current situation regarding where we are and where we want to go in the medium, short, or long term
  4. Orientation to results: Involve all members of the organization through the objectives deployed
  5. Request a demo for mlean Continuous Improvement Platform

Leadership and objectives deployment

It is necessary to ensure that the entire Management is very clear about the “Vision” of the company. Where do we want to go with agreed and shared objectives, involving all staff!. For this we need a leadership team that gets everyone motivated. If you want to learn more about leadership, read our post about leadership and continuous improvement.

And everything will start from a good SWOT strategic diagnosis, identifying our internal Strengths and Weaknesses and external Opportunities and Threats.

Continuous Improvement guide: Swot Graph

Continuous Improvement model availability

There are different Continuous Improvement Models on which to rely, as we have indicated previously. Personally, I have always opted for the Toyota model (Toyota Production System), which integrates all the principles of Lean Manufacturing and is valid for any type of industry.
This Model will allow me to define the Areas in which we will evaluate our organization. Traditionally we have defined the following:

  1. Team work
  2. Safety & Environment
  3. Quality Management
  4. Standard Operation
  5. HR Development
  6. Work Allocation
  7. Facility Management
  8. Cost Management

Each of these areas, in the Continuous Improvement Model, will have different tools that will allow me to advance in my degree of maturity, which we will talk about later in our blog.

Status diagnosis

We have an agreed Vision and a Continuous Improvement and/or Excellence Model that will guide us along the way. For each evaluated area, we will identify the existing deviations between where the organization is today and where it wants to be in the future, this is through quantitative and qualitative evaluations that indicate the degree of excellence in each of the areas. (We will be able to define our own set of criteria, as stable as possible over time, which will allow us to identify the situation in which we find ourselves in each diagnosis).

Results-oriented

Based on the diagnose results, we will define the priorities and turn them into specific objectives for the entire organization. We will have transformed the deviations identified into specific problems and challenges for the organization (Improvement Projects). The path to Excellence. From here, the PDCA wheel will turn robustly towards where we want to go, applying the different improvement and problem-solving tools. With full guarantee, not without suffering and pain. Without forgetting that the Hoshin Kanri will help us manage our strategic PDCA. We will cover this in another post.

What is the best tool for continuous improvement

There is neither a better nor a worse tool for continuous improvement. Each tool must be applied at the time it is necessary… Therefore, we believe that more important than the tools, is the cultural aspect in the involvement of all staff, as well as the commitment to Continuous Improvement. For this reason, a good model is worth nothing without better Leadership Management and coaching.

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Our mlean Production System is a great tool to implement continuous improvement models. If you want to learn more about it and it can help you, don’t hesitate and request a demo so we can show you how we can help in making your organization more efficient and profitable.

 

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