Lean Fundamentals– Principles of Implementation
The term “lean” with regards to a business organization can be defined as a systematic method for the elimination of waste with a focus on maximizing value-added activities. Value is determined through the eyes of the customer – in other words, value is any action or process that the customer would be willing to pay for. A lean system is focused simply on getting the right things to the right place at the right time in the right quantity while minimizing waste and being flexible and able to change.
The goals of lean are to improve quality, eliminate waste, reduce time, and reduce total costs. The ultimate goal is to provide perfect value to the customer. In order to achieve these goals, processes must be evaluated to determine what is considered value and what is waste. There is a five-step thought process for guiding the implementation of lean techniques:
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Root Cause Analysis and Corrective Action – The Key to Continuous Improvement
An ISO 9001 certified company strives to maintain the highest level of quality, not only in their product, but also in their processes, which make up their quality management system. One of the key components of an effective quality management system is to continually improve. In order to continually improve, we must first identify issues or areas of concern and, more importantly, their causes.
One practice is root cause analysis, which is defined as a method of problem solving that tries to identify the root causes of faults or problems which, once removed, prevents the final undesirable event from recurring. By practicing root cause analysis, we are able to identify and correct the cause of failures, as opposed to simply addressing their symptoms. The goal of focusing on correcting the root cause of an issue is to prevent that problem from recurring. One way to practice root cause analysis is the 5-Why method. This is a method of asking “why” repeatedly until the root cause is identified.
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