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FP and the LEAN MANAGEMENT


1/18/2013

First of all what is Lean Manufacturing?

Lean means: eliminating waste and adding value, therefore it’s deleting all the non-added value occurring in your management processes.
Lean Management also called lead manufacturing is a management philosophy created by the Toyota Production System which was developed to reduce waste and to improve overall customer value.

In order to have an excellent lean manufacturing FP have focused on several things:

Initially the company looked at their organisation: what was creating value what was not, and therefore what needed to be changed.
Then FP looked at their employees: the people need to be persistent to implement the lean. They have to be open minded and ready for change. The workplace was also analysed, and people have to work in a clean and organized environment.
Finally, the processes were examined in order to increase efficiency, and decrease waste.
“Waste in a company like FP can be caused by various things such as: overproduction, bad management of the stocks, not using peoples talent, occurring movement that does not add any value, doing more action than the required .”

FP International is using many lean management techniques:
The 5S also called the Japanese Kaisen method consists of ensuring a clean and organised workplace exists every working day improving standardized activities and processes

There five primary 5S phases are:
Sorting: Eliminate all unnecessary tools, parts, and instructions. Keeping only essential items and eliminating what is not required, prioritising things per requirements and keeping them in easily-accessible places.
Straightening or Setting in Order: Arranging tools, parts, and instructions in such a way that the most frequently used items are the easiest and quickest to locate.
Sweeping or Shining: Clean the workspace and all equipment, and keep it clean, tidy and organized.
Standardising: All work stations for a particular job should be identical. All employees doing the same job should be able to work in any station with the same tools.
Sustaining the Practice: Maintain and review standards.

A year ago, FP employees were losing a lot of time by searching for tools/ items. Since the 5S has been implemented, noticeable results have been seen. A list of all items and tools has been made; the most used items have been defined, and the place for each product has been set. Therefore, FP employees now know exactly where to find the different objects and save a huge amount of time. Every week, the technical co-ordinator is checking if the work stations are cleaned and if the items are tidy and in the correct place referring to the list made at the beginning.

Continuous improvement is also used at FP International to work faster and smarter resulting in a reduction in time lost. The company is using the SMET method; meaning that a change in the production line for example, has to be done on the fastest and easiest way to eliminate waste. Indeed, if the machines are not working, then the employees are not working, then products are not manufactured on time.
This generates a value loss that the customer is not willing to pay for.

The Kaisen Method is making improvements in small steps but on a long term basis a number of different steps have to be taken into consideration:
1) The problem has to be defined
2) The problem has to be measured
3) The problem has to be analysed (= fishbone diagram = 5 times why)
4) The causes of the problem have been found and solutions need to be identified
5) Implement the solution
6) Secure your solution


Finally FP Plants Director is also using the “Pokayoke” method with his employees which consists of preventing mistakes by providing only one single way of working.

In conclusion, the main advantages of lean are: Benefiting by an improvement in the every day working process, creating value, reducing costs and having happy customers. On the other hand, this method requires significant time to change the employees’ mind sets. This relies on having someone persistent on board who will check this on a daily basis that the lean process is followed correctly. This management also means having a flexible organisation.

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